ST. LOUIS, Aug. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Local public health organizations and healthcare institutions support legislation introduced today by St. Louis County Councilman, Dr. Sam Page that would prohibit the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21 in St. Louis County. The Tobacco 21 bill will reduce tobacco use among young people, save lives and help make the next generation tobacco-free.
"Tobacco 21 is a policy long overdue, says Philip Abraham, MD, FAAP, Instructor in Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine. "High school youth can easily obtain cigarettes from their older peers despite having our current laws in place. Tobacco 21 laws can help current and future St. Louis children avoid a lifetime of tobacco addiction and tobacco related disease."
Increasing the tobacco sales age to 21 also has broad public support. A recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 75 percent of adults – including seven in 10 smokers – support increasing the minimum age for sale of tobacco products to 21.
"We should send our kids back to school without easy access to tobacco products, offering them a long, happy and healthy life," says Dr. Sam Page. "Tobacco 21 saves lives. The life we save might be someone close to you, or even your own child."
In time, smoking prevalence could be significantly lower in our schools, workforce, and community. As a community we should be doing all we can to prevent our children from a lifelong deadly addiction to tobacco use.
"Research shows that raising the legal minimum age for sale of all tobacco and nicotine products to age 21 could reduce overall smoking rates and decrease smoking initiation among youth," says Karen Englert, Government Relations Director, American Heart Association. "As a community we should be doing all we can to prevent our children from a lifelong deadly addiction to tobacco use."
The suburban city of Needham, Massachusetts was the first to implement Tobacco 21 in 2005, and saw teen smoking decrease by an astonishing 46 percent between 2006 and 2010. Following Needham's example, 190+ cities in 12 states; 2 states (California and Hawaii) have statewide ordinances. Missouri has six cities with T21 ordinances: Columbia, Kansas City, Independence, Gladstone, Grandview and Lee's Summit.
Tobacco 21 STL METRO is a partnership of business, health care organizations, hospitals, nonprofits, government, and more. To date, 29 businesses and organizations have endorsed Tobacco 21 STL METRO.
For more information or to join our growing list of supporters, please visit: http://motobaccofacts.org/index.php/policy/tobacco-21/t21stl/
(Note: For questions regarding legislation, please contact the office of Dr. Sam Page at 314-615-5437)
As of 8/19/16
A special thank you to the St. Louis Metro businesses and organizations that have taken the lead on endorsing this important health policy for the St. Louis Metro area. Tobacco21|MO now covers over 750,000 Missourians in 6 cities, and over 60 million Americans nationwide. The policy is expected to save over 2,500 lives of children born in the STL Metro area between 2000 and 2019.
Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine
American Academy of Pediatrics Missouri Chapter
American Cancer Society
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
American Heart Association
American Lung Association
American Medical Association
Asthma/Allergy Foundation of America, St. Louis Chapter
March of Dimes
Missouri Public Health Association
Missouri State Medical Association
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (NCADA)
Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation
Rockwood Drug Free Coalition
Saint Louis University
SSM Health St. Louis
St. Louis Business Health Coalition
St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Association
St. Louis OB/GYN Society
St. Louis Regional Health Commission
Tobacco Free Missouri Coalition
Tobacco Free STL
Washington University in Saint Louis
Western Anesthesiology Associates
SOURCE Tobacco 21