CONTACT: Carol Schliesinger
Public Relations Manager
SAN ANTONIO (Sept. 15, 2017) – The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District (Metro Health) wants to know what you think about increasing the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21 years of age. Give your opinion by completing this short community survey. Your opinion will help gauge interest and support for this measure.
Metro Health is looking into the feasibility of increasing the minimum legal age to purchase tobacco products, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vaps, hookahs, and chewing tobacco.
If San Antonio were to increase the legal minimum sale age of tobacco to 21 years of age, it would be the first city in Texas to do so. Currently 5 states (California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Maine, and Oregon) and over 250 municipalities in 16 states have taken this important step, covering nearly 60 million people.
In Bexar County, 12.6% percent of high school males and 9.9% percent of high school females smoke. In the past few years, the rate of tobacco use among high school students has increased, largely due to the abundant availability of nicotine-delivery products, including electronic cigarettes.
In July of 2015 the CDC released a study concluding that 75 percent of adults favor raising the tobacco age to 21, including 70 percent of current smokers and 65 percent of those aged 18-24.
The brain is still developing during the late teens and early 20s and the probability of nicotine addiction is especially high during this time. Furthermore, youth addicted to nicotine are 7 times more likely to develop an addiction to other substances like drugs or alcohol.
Smoking currently causes over 500,000 annual premature deaths nationwide, and six million worldwide. All told tobacco takes more lives than auto accidents, homicides, alcohol, illegal drugs, suicides, and fires combined.