We do everything we can to protect our loved ones, especially children, from the harms of tobacco and nicotine. But unfortunately, we know many kids face real pressure to pick up this deadly habit.
The American Heart Association believes the “tobacco endgame” of eliminating tobacco use and nicotine addiction in the U.S. is within sight - but first we need to minimize the use of all combustible tobacco products, such as traditional cigarettes and cigars, and ensure e-cigarettes and other newer products do not addict a new generation to nicotine.
Right now in Alabama, the Campaign for Tobacco Free reports that:
- 25% of high school students use e-cigarettes;
- 15.5% of male high school students smoke cigars;
- 2,200 kids under 18 become new daily smokers each year; and
- 108,000 kids under 18 and live now in Alabama will ultimately die prematurely from smoking.
We anticipate legislation this session to raise the state's minimum legal sale age of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 19 to 21. Raising the legal sale age to 21 is an effective tool to lower overall tobacco use rates by reducing and delaying the onset of tobacco use. To increase the policy's effectiveness, we want retailers to be held responsible for ensuring tobacco products are not sold to anyone under the age of 21, instead of penalizing minors.
We will need your help to encourage lawmakers to raise the age to 21 without penalizing minors and to increase awareness about the dangers of e-cigarettes. The tobacco lobbyists are out in full force already and lawmakers need to hear from you, too!
We encourage you to join us on April 18th at the Capitol for our Advocacy Day, where Tobacco 21 will be a priority of ours to discuss with lawmakers.