Raising Minimum Age To Purchase Tobacco Products - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Raising Minimum Age To Purchase Tobacco Products

Soon it could be illegal to smoke cigarettes if you are under the age of 25.

The Institute of Medicine said, raising the minimum age of smoking to 25 will deter many people from ever starting.  In their report, they state tobacco control in the U.S. has led to an estimated eight-million fewer premature deaths in the past 50 years.

“The proportion of people smoking is down considerably,” Dr. Kent Ulrich with Texas Oncology said.

However, it continues to significantly affect public health and more than 40-million Americans still smoke.

He said, “I think there are probably multiple reasons.”

The Institute of Medicine reports, approximately 90-percent of adults who become daily smokers admitted to smoking before they were 19-years-old.  Almost 100-percent said they smoked before they were 26.  This is why they are suggesting to change the minimum age to 35.

“I don't think anyone can deny the adverse health effects of tobacco,” Dr. Ulrich said.

The report shows how raising the minimum age would deter them from picking up the habit, whether it was changed to 19, 21- or 25-years-old.

“I guess I can see their point,” he said, “There is some additional public health benefits to 25, but I'm not sure pragmatically, or practically that's really consistent.”

Many Texoma told Newschannel 6 off camera that raising the minimum age to 25-years-old is too high.

“I can see how many folks would really question this 25 versus 21,” Dr. Ulrich said.

Texomans argued if you can drink at 21-years-old tobacco use should not go any higher.  They said 21 would be reasonable.  However, they stated that kids will do what they want to do.  If they want to smoke a cigarette they will find someone to give them some, or have someone buy them a pack of cigarettes.

Dr. Ulrich said, raising the minimum age to 21 would be reasonable.  The report states if the age was raised to 21 nationwide, there would be approximately 223,000 fewer premature deaths, 50,000 fewer deaths from lung cancer, and 4.2-million fewer years of life lost for those born between 2000 and 2019.

“Nicotine and smoking probably is the, one of the only agents when not used to access, used legally, will kill you,” he said.

To look at the complete report by the Institute of Medicine, click here.

Alexandra McClung, Newschannel 6
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