Three-quarters of adults say raise smoking age to 21: survey

Three-quarters of adults say raise smoking age to 21: survey
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More than three-quarters of adults, including seven in 10 smokers, support raising the age of sale for tobacco products to 21, according to a national survey the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Tuesday.

The 2014 Internet survey found that 50.4 percent of adults strongly supported and 24.6 percent somewhat supported raising the age to 21.

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“We encourage state officials to pay attention to this timely new survey which indicates growing support for changing the current age for tobacco purchases,” American Heart Association (AHA) CEO Nancy Brown said in a statement. “The association will certainly point to these results as we work to pass laws in 49 states raising the legal limit to 21.”

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, and AHA said 90 percent of all adult tobacco users start by the age of 19.

“If we can keep young Americans from buying tobacco until they turn 21, we could prevent 223,000 premature deaths among those born between 2000 and 2019,” Brown said, citing numbers from the Institute of Medicine.

Last month, Hawaii became the first state to raise the smoking age to 21 statewide. The law will take effect Jan. 1, 2016, and will also ban the sale, purchase or use of electronic cigarettes for those under the age of 21, a Reuters report said.