The beginning of a new school year brings new opportunities, new classes, and as kids get older, new social pressures to navigate. One of these pressures that nearly all teens will inevitably face is the decision to use tobacco products.
What starts as experimentation can become a deadly habit — studies have shown that almost all adult smokers (94 percent) started smoking before they reached the age of 21. Kids who smoke or use e-cigarettes impair their brain development and will be forced to deal with a lifetime of health problems including increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and lung cancer.
With wildly popular e-cigarettes accessible to teens, e-cigarette use jumped 78% among high school students from 2017-2018, resulting in about 1 in 5 high school aged kids using these products.
While our kids are still kids, we as adults must all advocate to keep deadly tobacco products out of their hands. 18 states and Washington, DC have raised the legal minimum sale age to 21, and now federal policymakers have the opportunity to make it national policy.
This legislation, the Tobacco to 21 Act (H.R. 2411/S. 1258), would prohibit the sale or distribution of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21. According to the National Academy of Medicine, this legislation would reduce the number of new tobacco users and decrease smoking frequency by 12 percent.
Approximately 1,300 people die every day in the U.S. from smoking-related diseases. Our lawmakers have the opportunity to save lives by passing this legislation. Join the American Heart Association and urge your elected officials to pass The Tobacco to 21 Act by signing the petition today.