61,000 Kansas kids alive today will die from smoking at current smoking rates.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network supports legislation to raise the minimum age for sale of tobacco products to 21 years old. This is an important issue as nationally 95% of adult smokers start before they turn 21. This time period is when the brain is fully developing, including the parts responsible for decision making, impulse control, sensation seeking, and susceptibility to peer pressure. Adolescents and young adults are therefore a critical population to target with evidence-based, tobacco control strategies.
According to a March 2015 Institute of Medicine report, raising the national minimum legal sale age to 21 is predicted to reduce smoking prevalence by about 12 percent and smoking-related deaths by nearly 10 percent for future generations.
Tobacco companies heavily target young adults ages 18 to 21 through a variety of marketing activities because they know it is a critical time-period for solidifying tobacco addiction. Increasing the age for sale of tobacco products to 21 will help counter the tobacco industry's efforts to target young people at a time when many move from experimenting with tobacco to regular smoking. It will also help keep tobacco out of high schools, where younger teens often obtain tobacco products from older students.