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Efforts to Curb Teen Vaping

By Ron Cichowicz


Tobacco 21
On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed legislation to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, raising the federal minimum age for sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years old. This legislation (known as “Tobacco 21”) is effective immediately, and now makes it illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product—including cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes/vaping products—to anyone under the age of 21. This new federal minimum age of sale applies to all retail establishments and persons with no exceptions.[1]

Why It Matters …
Nearly all adult smokers started using tobacco when they were teenagers. In fact, about 95% of adult smokers began using tobacco before they were 21. Raising the purchase age of tobacco to 21 will allow for a significant reduction in the number of adolescents who use tobacco, reduce tobacco-related death and disease, and immediately improve the health of young adults.[2] For example, a report from the National Academy of Medicine revealed that Tobacco 21 could prevent as many as 223,000 deaths among people born between 2000 and 2019 and could reduce lung cancer deaths by 50,000.[3]

Why 21?
More than 60% of 10th grade students reported that they thought it was “easy” to obtain tobacco products. Often, they get these products from friends or classmates who are over the age of 18. Since students do not typically reach 21 years old while still in high school, increasing the age of sale will greatly reduce the number of high school students who could purchase tobacco products and then provide them to younger students.

What About Teens Who Are Currently Using Tobacco?
Teens who quit with support are more likely to be successful. This support can come from a doctor, parent, school guidance counselor or nurse, a trusted teacher, or from their peers. Additionally, there are a number of free, anonymous, programs available to assist adolescents who are addicted to nicotine.

My Life, My Quit is an enhanced tobacco and vaping cessation program for teens under age 18 who want to stop using tobacco products, especially electronic cigarettes/vaping products. My Life, My Quit is 100% free, confidential and made just for teens. The My Life, My Quit specially trained coaches listen and understand teens, provide personalized support, and build relationships that promote quitting tobacco. Coaches emphasize that the decision to stop is personal, and provide information to help cope with stress, navigate social situations, and support developing a tobacco-free identity.

For more information, or to enroll in the free My Life, My Quit program, teens can Text “Start My Quit” to (855) 891-9989.

About Tobacco Free Allegheny
Tobacco Free Allegheny’s mission is to change the community norms surrounding tobacco, making it uncommon to see, use, or be negatively affected by tobacco or tobacco pollution.

Learn more at www.TobaccoFreeAllegheny.org



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