Increasing the Tobacco Sale Age

Tobacco is responsible for roughly 1/3 of all cancer deaths -- or nearly 2,300 cancer deaths in Connecticut this year. 

Increasing the Sale Age for All Tobacco Products

Increasing the minimum sale age for tobacco products will prevent future generations of Connecticut kids from becoming addicted to deadly tobacco products. 

  • About 95% of smokers begin smoking before the age of 21, and about 1,500 kids in CT become new daily smokers each year. Delaying the age when people first experiment or begin using tobacco will reduce the chance that they ever become regular, daily tobacco users.
  • A March 2015 report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) strongly concluded that raising the tobacco age to 21 nationally would significantly reduce smoking prevalence by about 12% and smoking-related deaths by nearly 10%. 
  • Because young adults (18-20) are a common source of tobacco for youth under 18, raising the tobacco age to 21 will reduce tobacco use among youth under age 19. In fact, according to the modeling conducted by IOM, the age group most positively impacted will be youth ages 15-17.
  • Tobacco companies intentionally market to kids and young adults in order to recruit “The next generation of smokers” and protect company profits. Increasing the tobacco sale age to 21 will help counter the efforts of the tobacco companies to target young people at a critical time when many move from experimenting to regular use.
  • The U.S. Army Surgeon General says soldiers who smoke are less combat ready and take longer to heal. Tobacco use among active duty military personnel has enormous physical and fiscal impacts on force readiness; it reduces soldiers’ fitness and endurance, and is linked to higher rates of absenteeism and lost productivity
  • California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Maine, Oregon, Massachusetts, Virginia, Utah, Arkansas, and 450+ localities have raised the minimum legal sale age for tobacco products to 21.
  • Preventing Connecticut kids from becoming addicted smokers would secure millions of dollars in future health care cost savings. In Connecticut, for each one percentage point decline in youth and adult smoking rates, future health care costs in Connecticut would be reduced by about $353.2 million.

Ways to Support Tobacco 21:

  • Share your story and ask lawmakers to support tobacco 21 at the public hearing with in-person or written testimony. Email [email protected] for a template and help drafting your testimony, no experience needed.
  • Share your reason for supporting tobacco 21. Pose for a picture with our 21+ Reasons sign and share why you want lawmakers to increase the sale age for all tobacco products. Email [email protected] to get a copy of the sign.

Connecticut Cities and Towns that have passed Tobacco 21:

  • Hartford
  • Bridgeport
  • South Windsor
  • Southington
  • Wallingford
  • Trumbull
  • Milford

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