Raising Legal Age to Buy Tobacco Could Prevent Smoking Addiction
A new report states that raising legal age to buy tobacco products to 21 would help prevent nicotine addiction. The report, published by Ohio State University, speaks of how the new age limit would prevent teens from becoming addicted but would not affect tobacco sales, for now.
Teens who start smoking primarily get their tobacco from other young adults ages 18-20. If these older teens could not obtain the tobacco, it would be much harder for younger teens to obtain it. This is very similar to the legal age to buy alcohol. Before it was 21, younger teens had easier access to alcohol. But once the age limit was raised, the rates of teens binge drinking dropped by one-third. This is what researchers hope to happen to tobacco use.
When teens start smoking at a young age, it affects their brain development and leads to a harsher addiction. It is much harder for a teen to quit smoking than an adult. Stopping the addiction before it begins is the goal of these researchers and many more.
Researchers on this report made a point that tobacco sales would not be affected because only 2 percent of customers are under 21 years of age. But if the legal age is raised, and it decreases the amount of younger smokers, we could see a drastic reduction of cigarette use in the upcoming years.