This past Tuesday, city supervisors in San Francisco voted unanimously to join the likes of New York City, Boston, and Hawaii and raise the legal age to buy tobacco products to 21. This new ordinance will go into effect on June 1st.
Recent research from the Institute of Medicine (found here) has shown that 90% of daily smokers tried their first cigarette before age 19. The public health implications of raising the legal age to buy tobacco products could potentially be staggering. The Institute of Medicine believes that even without changes in tobacco industry marketing, in societal views of tobacco use, or in understanding of patterns and reasons for tobacco use initiation, raising the minimum legal age for tobacco purchase could significantly reduce the start of tobacco use, particularly among young adults, improve public health, and potentially save many lives.
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