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Recent updates! – Tobacco 21 Progress
Missouri currently has an above average rate of high school and adult smoking. These rates would eventually result in the premature death of 128,000 children now under the age of 18, with 3,100 children becoming daily smokers each year.
The direct health care costs of tobacco amount to $3.03 billion annually, and lost productivity due to smoking amounts to $3.04 billion. Despite this, the state only spends 3.0% of the CDC recommended amount on tobacco prevention. The state also has the lowest per pack tax in the nation, at $0.17.
There is no preemption language present in state law keeping localities from raising the Minimum Legal Sales Age (MLSA) to 21. The state law permits local governments to impose stricter regulations regarding youth access to tobacco. Columbia became the first municipality in the state to raise their tobacco and nicotine age to 21 in 2014, largely thanks to the work of local advocate Ginny Chadwick. Now, 24 municipalities have passed Tobacco 21, with a strong coalition around Kansas City and St. Louis.
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, Hawaii, New Jersey, Maine, Oregon and Massachusetts’ laws all began at the local level where powerful tobacco industry lobbyists have little sway. Local champions have largely driven this movement in non-preempted states. Constituents are an impetus for change at the community and statewide levels.
For More Information, Please Contact:
- Aschelle Morgan
- Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation
- Western Regional Director
- (904) 655-5698
- Scott Hall
- Kansas City Chamber of Commerce
- Senior Vice President, Civic and Community Initiatives
- Claudia Flores Rodas
- Tobacco Free Kids
- Director, Southern Region