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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 state and country wants. Multiple states and over 500 different local communities from all over have already passed Tobacco 21 laws! We are going to be working towards that here in South Dakota too!

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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.

In 2005, Needham, MA increased the tobacco purchase age to 21 and saw the smoking rates among high school students fell by nearly half! This is just one example, from the numerous other cases.

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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