Minimum Legal Age Position Statement

Minimum Legal Age Position Statement

Interact for Health believes that local, state and federal entities should enact policies that raise the minimum legal sale age of tobacco products to age 21.

Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and the Greater Cincinnati region.1 Smoking costs the United States more than $300 billion per year between direct medical costs and lost productivity.1,2 Reducing tobacco use is the single most important strategy that would improve health outcomes in our region. According to the 2017 Community Health Status Survey (CHSS), 23% of adults in our region are current smokers with significant disparities existing between income levels.3 Preventing initiation of tobacco use and the transition to every day smoking is a critical component of reducing future tobacco-related death and disease. Nearly 9 in 10 cigarette smokers first tried smoking by age 18.4

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that raising the minimum legal sale age of tobacco products to 21 will significantly reduce the number of adolescents and young adults who start smoking (particularly among ages 15-17), reduce smoking-caused deaths and immediately improve the health of adolescents, young adults and young mothers who would be deterred from smoking, as well as their children.5 The IOM projected that if the minimum legal sale age of tobacco products was increased to 21 nationwide, there would be 223,000 fewer premature deaths and 4.2 million fewer years of life lost for those born between 2000 and 2019.5

Therefore, Interact for Health believes that local, state and federal entities should enact policies that raise the minimum legal sale age of tobacco products to age 21.5


1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), The Health Consequences of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General, Atlanta, GA: HHS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and
Health, 2014, http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/reports/50-years-ofprogress/index.html.

2 Xu X, Bishop EE, Kennedy SM, Simpson SA, Pechacek TF. Annual Healthcare Spending Attributable to Cigarette Smoking: An Update American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2014;48(3):326–333 [accessed 2018 Feb 15].

3 Interact for Health. (2017). Greater Cincinnati Community Health Status Survey. Cincinnati, OH.

4 Office on Smoking and Health (U.S.). (2006). The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/bNBK44324/.

5 IOM (Institute of Medicine). 2015. Public health implications of raising the minimum age of legal access to tobacco products. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Health Watch

Greater Cincinnati Health Watch is a free biweekly e-mail newsletter published by Interact for Health.

Sign Up Now

Prescription Drop Box Map

Happening Now

  • Chronic medical conditions prevalent among Greater Cincinnati children

    Asthma, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and anxiety are the most commonly diagnosed chronic conditions among children in the Greater Cincinnati region, according to data collected through the 2017 Child Well-Being Survey.

    Learn More

  • Most Ohio adults think state should adopt health education standards

    The Ohio Health Issues Poll (OHIP) is conducted every year to learn more about the health opinions, behaviors and status of adults in Ohio. In 2017, OHIP asked Ohio adults about state health education standards.

    Learn More

  • Health and healthy behaviors among youth in our region.

    The 2017 Child Well-Being Survey (CWBS) asked parents and guardians of youth in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky to describe the overall health of their child. CWBS also asked about specific health behaviors such as physical activity and sleep patterns.

    Learn More

  • Results show shift in perception from substance abuse being seen as moral failure to a chronic illness.

    The Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) found that 7 in 10 Kentucky adults believe that addiction is a disease (70%). Attitudes towards addiction as a disease were the same both among respondents who have a family member or friend who has experienced problems with substance abuse, and among those who did not indicate such firsthand experience with addiction.

    Learn More

  • Kentucky adults continue to cite heroin use as causing problems for friends, family

    The most recent Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) and Ohio Health Issues Poll (OHIP) has found that more than 2 in 10 Ohio adults (23%) report knowing someone who has trouble as a result of using heroin, while just under 2 in 10 Kentucky adults (16%) report knowing someone affected by heroin use.

    Learn More