With 95 percent of smokers starting before the age of 21, Idaho is not alone in the fight to raise the tobacco sale age to promote the general health and welfare of our young people.
The Tobacco 21 movement is gaining momentum across the nation. More and more U.S. states and communities are seeing the value in raising the age to 21. The shift to save lives and reduce healthcare costs is one that communities of all backgrounds can support.
In addition to the first two states to pass legislation – Hawaii and California – this past summer saw three more states make the move to protect young residents from the dangers of tobacco. Within a one month span, New Jersey, Maine and Oregon all passed state-wide legislation to raise the tobacco sale age. This groundswell has added to previous years’ efforts, building to over 260 cities and counties in 18 states that are now preventing youth tobacco and nicotine use with hopes to save lives and reduce health care costs.
The ages of 18 to 21 are a critical period for young peoples’ health. In this span, the human brain is still developing and many experimental smokers make the transition to being regular, daily users.  A 2015 Institute of Medicine report projected that raising the tobacco sale age to 21 would prevent 223,000 fewer premature deaths and result in 4.2 million fewer years of life lost for those born between 2000 and 2019.
Raising the legal sale age to purchase tobacco products includes traditional cigarettes as well as electronic cigarettes, which pose high health risks for today’s youth. Many younger teens obtain access to tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18-year-old friends and classmates and raising the age to 21 will help keep these harmful products out of schools.
Tobacco 21 Idaho is working to prevent the easy access of tobacco products to minors and persons under the age of 21 in order to avoid the life-threatening risks of tobacco. To stay informed of news and updates happening around Tobacco 21 Idaho and learn how you can take action in the near future, join our newsletter.
 “Increasing the Minimum Legal Sale Age for Tobacco Products to 21.” Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
 England, Lucinda J. et al. “Nicotine and the Developing Human.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Volume 49, Issue 2, 286 – 293.
“Public Health Implications of Raising the Minimum Age of Legal Access to Tobacco Products.” Report Brief. Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. March 2015.