Almost three-quarters say minimum age to buy tobacco should be 21: Gallup

Almost three-quarters say minimum age to buy tobacco should be 21: Gallup
© Getty Images

Nearly three-quarters of respondents in a new poll said they support raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21.

Gallup found that 73 percent of Americans said they backed raising the minimum tobacco purchase age to 21. Support for the move was higher among older respondents, the survey giant added.

According to the poll, 81 percent of Americans 65 and over supported the increase, as did 70 percent of those aged 50 to 64, 73 percent of respondents aged 30 to 49 and 66 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds.


Eighteen states and Washington, D.C., have passed laws raising the legal age to purchase tobacco to 21. About half of the states' laws have gone into effect, and the other half will go into effect over the next two years. 

Aside from the state bills, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse Democrats grow frustrated as they feel ignored by Senate Democrats question GOP shift on vaccines Has Trump beaten the system? MORE (R-Ky.) and Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineSenate GOP likely to nix plan Schumer feels pressure from all sides on spending strategy Manchin signals he'll be team player on spending deal MORE (D-Va.) have introduced legislation to raise the federal minimum age from 18 to 21. 

Gallup also found that 64 percent of Americans support stricter regulations on e-cigarettes. According to Gallup, 75 percent of Americans 65 and older supported stricter regulations, as did 69 percent of those 50 to 64, and 64 percent of 30- to 49-year-olds.

About half, 49 percent, of Americans 18 to 29 supported stricter regulations, compared to 42 percent that t supported keeping restrictions as they are now. 

Tobacco and e-cigarette companies like Altria and Juul, which have been attacked for offering flavored products attractive to youths, also support the Senate bill. 

Public health groups support increasing the tobacco purchasing age, but say more must be done to curb youth vaping rates.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports e-cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product among youth in 2018. The CDC said 20.8 percent of  high school students used e-cigarettes in 2018, compared to 1.5 percent in 2011. 

The CDC said the increase in use is “likely because of the recent popularity” of products such as Juul, which is shaped like a USB flash drive and can be used discreetly. The agency also claims the flavored products appeal to youth. 

Gallup surveyed 1,525 U.S. adults from July 1 to July 12. There is a margin of error of 3 percentage points.