Use the dropdown list to select a state
Recent updates! – Tobacco 21 Progress
In June, 2016 Helena-West Helena became the first city in the Arkansas to pass a Tobacco 21 ordinance by an astounding 9-0 vote. Keisha Grigsby and the Family and Youth enrichment network proposed and helped to draft the ordinance. They deserve a standing ovation, along with the council members who listened and acted to protect the young lives in their community.
Arkansas has one of the highest rates of high school smoking and adult smoking in the country. This will result in the eventual deaths of an estimated 69,000 children now under the age of 18 due to smoking, with 1,700 children becoming daily smokers every year. The state spends only 29.7% of the CDC recommended amount on tobacco prevention, this is almost a 50% decrease in funding since 2016. The state’s annual health care costs due to smoking is $1.21 billion, and the state loses $1.7 billion in productivity every year due to smoking.
There is no preemption language present in state law keeping localities from raising the Minimum Legal Sales Age (MLSA) to 21. Local governments are free to enact ordinances to better protect their kids from addiction. It has been our experience that the most powerful incentive for the state legislature to act is the initiative of local citizens and governmental leaders. Statewide, California, Oregon, New Jersey, Maine, Hawaii, and Massachusetts’ laws began at the local level where powerful tobacco industry lobbyists have little sway. Local champions have largely driven this movement in non-preempted state and community constituents are an impetus for change at the community and statewide levels.