critical-issues-no-topCRITICAL ISSUES

The Toll of Tobacco

  • Tobacco kills over 480,000 people each year, more than automobile crashes, gun violence and opiate overdoses combined.
  • The developing teenage brain is particularly vulnerable to the effects of nicotine.
  • More than 95% of addicted smokers start before age 21.
  • 350 youth become regular smokers each day in the U.S.
  • Early exposure to nicotine increases the risk of addiction and puts adolescents at a higher risk for depression, anxiety and substance abuse.
  • Unless there is a trajectory change, tobacco addiction will dramatically shorten the lives of 5.6 million kids alive today.

 


Trends of Use – Changing the Trend

    • While the smoking rates have declined in the United State, e-cigarette use has exploded since 2014, threatening to undo our progress.
    • FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has called youth use of e-cigarettes an epidemic and indicated that youth e-cigarette use is up 77% from last year.
    • On average, American kids try cigarettes for the first time at age 13.7.
    • The primary source of tobacco products for underage smokers are their 18 to 20 year old peers
    • Because 80 percent of high schoolers turn 18 before they graduate, teens have easy access to tobacco through their peers.
    • When properly enforced, Tobacco 21 laws disrupt the social availability of cigarettes and other nicotine products to young people.

 


Impact of Tobacco 21

  • The economic impact of T21 is small. Only 2% of tobacco sales made in the U.S. go to those under 21.
  • And yet, An Institute of Medicine report predicted that raising the minimum age of sale of tobacco products would result in an over 15% reduction in smoking initiation rates among youth under age 21.

 


Over 28% of the nation’s population is covered by T21 policy
               

  • Needham, Massachusetts showed a 48% drop in high school smoking rates after policy implementation, a significant decline relative to comparison communities.
  • In the year after implementation, Chicago found a 36% decrease in 18-20 year olds that reported currently smoking cigarettes.
  • In California, statewide retailer violation rates to under 18 year-olds decreased from 10.3% to 5.7% since implementation of T21.