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Tobacco 21 – It’s not a moment; it’s a movement

Our work to raise the sale age of tobacco to 21 across the state is proving that it isn’t just a fad, it is what the Minnesotans want. 40 different communities from all over the state have already passed Tobacco 21 laws! We were very close of passing it at the state level and we are going to push it again this year.

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hero_image_alt_text===Legs crossed against a wall with the words "Let's Stop the Start!"
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thumbnail_alt_text===Legs crossed against a wall with the words "Let's Stop the Start!"

These laws are critical to lowering the number of teens to start smoking. The National Academy of Medicine reports that 25 percent of 15-to-17-year-olds wouldn’t start smoking. Almost 95 percent of all addicted adult smokers started smoking before they were 21. These policies also help get tobacco products out of the high-school environment if the older students can’t purchase them for the younger students.

Multiple states have already passed it at the state level, and we want to be next. We are already seeing the work change and save lives. In 2005, Needham, MA increased the tobacco purchase age to 21 and saw the smoking rates among high school students fell by nearly half!

We are still fighting to make sure that we don’t penalize youth for purchase, use or possession (PUP). Many different communities are focusing on penalizing our kids and not focusing on the sellers that are selling tobacco products to them. Not only are PUP laws ineffective but they have unintended consequences for youth that are trying to seek treatment.

If you are interested in getting more involved don’t hesitate to email me at Jacob.denniston@heart.org.

Best,

Jacob

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