“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
The momentum behind the Tobacco 21 movement is building, and the opportunities for advocacy and political action exist for anyone who supports the cause. Politicians are driven by the calls of their constituents, and every voice matters. Even more powerful is the potential for Tobacco 21 to work at a local level, with the governing bodies that exist right in your backyard. Local governments are not only more able and willing to listen to their constituents, but they are also more open to change, and less likely to feel pressure from the influence of big tobacco. The now widely adopted indoor smoking bans began as local initiatives, and their success then motivated and legitimized the push for them to be enacted by state governments.
Tobacco 21 will likely follow a similar path, and in many areas of the country it already has begun. The big island of Hawaii was driven by the inspiring Twenty One Reasons Movement, New York City was largely the work of a small body of thoughtful leaders, and Suffolk County in New York has also raised its tobacco age to 21. The most telling and compelling example of this is the work of Dr. Jonathan Winickoff and Dr. Lester Hartman, two pediatricians who took up the Tobacco 21 call in the state of Massachusetts. By presenting the Tobacco 21 case to local health boards around the state, the two doctors have been able to help institute a tobacco age of 21 in over 100 different communities, with many more in process. That success is due almost entirely by the work of only 2 people. Every voice matters.
If you are interested in joining the ranks and leading your own local initiative to raise the tobacco age to 21, we can help provide any materials, knowledge, and guidance you need. You can start by downloading our tool kit below, contacting the appropriate individuals listed on our state by state page, and looking up your local politicians and their means of pushing legislation. Remember, Tobacco 21 saves lives and costs nothing.