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Hartford Raises the Age for Buying Tobacco Products. It’s a Good Start.


By Ruth Canovi

Congratulations to the Hartford City Council on passing an ordinance that raises the age of sale of tobacco products to 21. The ordinance, which was introduced by Councilman Larry Deutsch, makes Hartford the first city in the State of Connecticut to pass this policy.

The ordinance, which includes the purchase of electronic cigarettes, was passed just weeks after an announcement from the State Department of Public Health that the number of high school students using electronic cigarettes doubled in just two years.

According to their report, 14.7 percent of high school students reported current use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), compared to 7.2 percent in 2015. The survey found one in 10 ninth graders and over one in five 12th graders currently use ENDS. That report mirror’s the American Lung Association’s State of Tobacco Control Report which concluded that 14 percent of high school students in the state of Connecticut are using tobacco.

We also know that nearly 95 percent of adult smokers report trying their first cigarette before the age of 21 – and that this policy can save lives.

In fact, according to the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) increasing the minimum age of sale for all tobacco products to 21 could prevent 223,000 deaths among people born between 2000 and 2019, including 50,000 fewer dying from lung cancer – the nation’s leading cancer killer.

Some of those lives are Connecticut’s children — and we applaud Hartford for taking clear and decisive steps to safeguard their future.

The bottom line is that tobacco use remains the nation’s leading cause of preventable death and disease, and the leadership in Hartford should be an example for other local municipalities and the state. As of today, California, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, Oregon, and Massachusetts have led the way on tobacco 21, but with Hartford out in front, Connecticut should be next.

Ruth Canovi is Director of Public Policy for the American Lung Association in Connecticut.  

This was first published at ctmirror.org.

 

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Hartford Raise Minimum Age for Tobacco Purchase


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Hartford City Council on Monday voted unanimously to raise the minimum age for tobacco purchase from 18 to 21.

In a vote 9-0, council members banned the sale of cigarettes, cigars, vaping products and other forms of tobacco to anyone below 21.

The law is effective immediately. Enforcement will begin in April. Store owners who violate the law will be fined $250 for each violation. Their tobacco licenses may also be suspended.

Hartford officials are hoping other towns will adopt similar laws.

After a rally at city hall earlier this month, the nine-member council heard overwhelming support for the idea of raising the age for tobacco purchase in an effort to prevent nicotine addiction.

Advocates said that about 95 percent of smokers begin smoking before the age of 21 and become addicted as adults. By delaying the age when people begin using tobacco, it reduces the chance that they become lifelong tobacco users.

In Hartford, 23.5 percent of people 18 and older smoke, compare to 15.3 statewide. Hartford has the highest rate of smokers in the state.

So far, six states and more than 350 cities have raised the age requirement to 21.Hartford has joined California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Maine and Massachusetts and Oregon in adopting the new law.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 4,900 Connecticut residents will die from smoking-related causes this year. And more than 1,000 children are expected to become new daily smokers under the current law.

Earlier this year, advocates for raising the minimum age testified before a committee in the General Assembly, saying the annual health care costs directly caused by smoking are $2.03 billion and Medicaid costs are $520.8 million.

Raising the age to 21 has been proposed before the General Assembly several times but the measure has always failed.

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Hartford Council to Vote on Raising Minimum Age to Buy Cigarettes


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Hartford City Council on Monday will vote on whether to raise the minimum age to purchase cigarettes.

Currently the minimum age to buy cigarettes and other tobacco is 18. The American Lung Association is pushing to change that age to 21.

The goal is the change the law first in Hartford and hope it spreads to other towns in the state.

After a rally at city hall on Monday, the nine-member council heard overwhelming support for the idea of raising the age for tobacco purchase in an effort to prevent nicotine addiction.

Advocates said that about 95 percent of smokers begin smoking before the age of 21 and become addicted as adults. By delaying the age when people begin using tobacco, it reduces the chance that they become lifelong tobacco users.

So far, six states and more than 350 cities have raised the age requirement to 21.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 4,900 Connecticut residents will die from smoking-related causes this year. And more than 1,000 children are expected to become new daily smokers under the current law.

Earlier this year, advocates for raising the minimum age testified before a committee in the General Assembly, saying the annual health care costs directly caused by smoking are $2.03 billion and Medicaid costs are $520.8 million.

Raising the age to 21 has been proposed before the General Assembly several times but the measure has always failed.

Posted in Business, Hartford, Health, Nation/World, YouthComments (0)

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