Vermont Legislators Need to Reconsider an Important Tobacco Prevention Tool.
When advocates pushed legislators this past session to raise the legal sale age for tobacco to 21, Vermont had the opportunity to be one of the first three states to take this important step towards tobacco prevention. Only two other states had passed such legislation, California and Hawaii. But the Vermont Senate said no and killed the measure in April.
Since then, three other states - Oregon, Maine and New Jersey - passed their age increases this summer, all within less than three weeks of one another.
It’s time for Vermont legislators to reconsider this important tool which would reduce the smoking rate over time by 12% and reduce smoking-related deaths by 10%.
And its needed. According to the Vermont Department of Health, 68% of Vermont smokers under the age of 18 had someone else buy, borrowed or bummed cigarettes compared to 9% who bought at a gas station or store.
Raising the age to 21 cuts off the social sources for young teens who are able to get tobacco from their slightly older friends. It’s an important tool Vermont needs to consider in its arsenal of tobacco prevention.