ClearWay Minnesota supports increasing the minimum legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21.The tobacco industry aggressively markets to youth and young adults to recruit replacement smokers and guarantee profits. With almost 90 percent of addicted adult smokers starting before age 18, preventing youth from starting is essential to reducing smoking prevalence. Raising the purchase age to 21 will reduce teens’ ability to buy tobacco products themselves or to access them through social sources.
A 2015 report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (formerly Institute of Medicine) shows that raising the age will prevent youth smoking and save lives, and data from Minnesota suggest this could prevent 30,000 young people from smoking over time. A national survey found a large majority of adults support raising the tobacco purchase age, and an increasing number of state and local governments are taking action. More information on this issue can be found here.