ClearWay Minnesota statement: Study finds most Americans support raising tobacco purchase age to 21

Jul 07, 2015, 13:08 ET from ClearWay Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS, July 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The results of a new nationwide study published today in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found three out of four Americans support raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21. The study also found seven out of ten smokers support raising the minimum age to 21.

"No one wants to see young people start down a path of lifetime addiction to tobacco," said Andrea Mowery, Vice President at ClearWay Minnesota. "It's no surprise that a majority of Americans support measures like this one, which could have a life-changing impact for millions of kids."

More than 90 percent of adult smokers start before the age of 19. A recent study from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences found that raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21 would prevent a quarter of a million premature deaths in this country by the end of the century. The study also found that raising the minimum age to buy tobacco would result in an estimated 25 percent decrease in 15-17 year olds beginning to use tobacco.

"Minnesota is a national leader in reducing tobacco's harm and the number of new smokers every year," Mowery continued. "The state of Hawaii and many cities around the nation are raising the purchase age to keep tobacco out of kids' hands. Their success is leading to growing consensus around the benefits of raising the minimum age."

Smoking continues to be the leading cause of preventable death and disease across the country and in our state. Each year, 5,100 Minnesotans die from tobacco-related illnesses and smoking costs Minnesota residents nearly $3 billion annually in health care expenses.

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About ClearWay MinnesotaSM
ClearWay Minnesota is an independent, nonprofit organization that improves the health of Minnesotans by reducing the harm caused by tobacco. ClearWay Minnesota serves Minnesota through its grant-making program, QUITPLAN® stop-smoking services and statewide outreach activities. It is funded with 3 percent of the state's 1998 tobacco settlement.

SOURCE ClearWay Minnesota