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Recent updates! – Tobacco 21 Progress
On November 27, 2019, Gov. Tom Wolfe signed SB 473 making Pennsylvania the 19th state to raise the tobacco sales age to 21!
Pennsylvania currently has an above average rate of high school smoking and adult smoking. An estimated 244,000 children now under the age of 18 will eventually die early due to smoking, with 6,000 children becoming daily smokers every year. The high school student’s e-cigarette usage rate is currently 11.3%, and undoubtedly is driving up Pennsylvania’s overall youth tobacco use rates as well.
The result is an annual health care cost of $6.38 billion that is directly caused by smoking, and another $5.73 billion in lost productivity. Despite all of this, the state only spends 13.5% of the CDC recommended amount on tobacco prevention, but does have a tax of $2.60 per pack.
State law does not allow for local Tobacco 21 laws, but this does not mean local government can’t play an important role. A good example is Washington State, which is also preempted locally concerning Minimum Legal Sales Age (MLSA) increases. In Washington, city councils and local boards of health passed resolutions in support of the statewide law under consideration by the legislature. Resolutions cost nothing, but clearly help fuel momentum toward better protection for your kids. Please consider calling your local board of health, city council member or county commissioner. Your voice is very important to legislators considering Tobacco 21 laws, all it takes is one or two phone calls or emails to support the movement to raise the age.