Banning tobacco sales to people under age 21 reduces smoking

July 26, 2019

New Haven, Conn. -- County- and municipality-level bans on tobacco sales to individuals under age 21 yield substantive reductions in smoking among 18- to 20-year-olds, according to a new study from the Yale School of Public Health.

Published online in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, the study examines how "tobacco-21 laws" affect smoking among 18- to 20-year-olds residing in metropolitan/micropolitan statistical areas (MMSAs), which are clusters of adjacent counties that include an urban center with at least 10,000 residents.

The researchers found that, all else being equal, the smoking rate among 18- to 20-year-olds declines when the percent of an MMSA covered by tobacco-21 laws increases. This trend is not evident for 23- to 25-year-olds, providing further evidence that the finding for 18- to 20-year-olds reflects a response to tobacco-21 policies, said the researchers.

Specifically, between 2011 and 2016, 18- to 20-year-olds living in MMSAs with at least one local tobacco-21 law exhibited an average drop in their smoking rate of 1.2 percentage points, relative to those living in areas with no tobacco-21 policy. This reduction is equivalent to a 10% drop in smoking. Analyses suggest that the effects of state-level tobacco-21 laws would be even greater.

"Smoking is responsible for over 400,000 deaths in the United States alone every year, with the vast majority of smokers initiating use before age 21. Our analysis indicates that tobacco-21 laws are an effective way to reduce such take-up, even when they are implemented at the local level," said lead researcher Abigail S. Friedman, assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Yale School of Public Health.

As of July 18, 2019, 18 states and over 400 localities have passed laws banning tobacco sales to individuals under age 21. However, 16 states without tobacco-21 laws have preemption policies that prohibit local jurisdictions from raising the minimum legal sales age for tobacco products above the state's minimum tobacco sales age, which is usually 18 years old.

"Over 20% of the U.S. population under age 21 lives in a preemption state without a state-level tobacco-21 law. This study's findings suggest that such preemption laws prevent residents who support tobacco-21 policies from improving their community's health," says Friedman.
-end-
This study was co-authored with Rachel J. Wu, a recent graduate of Yale College. The research was funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Evidence for Action program.

Citation: Nicotine and Tobacco Research

Yale University

Related Science Articles from Brightsurf:

75 science societies urge the education department to base Title IX sexual harassment regulations on evidence and science
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today led 75 scientific societies in submitting comments on the US Department of Education's proposed changes to Title IX regulations.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, biopharma, and pharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2018 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Science in the palm of your hand: How citizen science transforms passive learners
Citizen science projects can engage even children who previously were not interested in science.

Applied science may yield more translational research publications than basic science
While translational research can happen at any stage of the research process, a recent investigation of behavioral and social science research awards granted by the NIH between 2008 and 2014 revealed that applied science yielded a higher volume of translational research publications than basic science, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xueying Han from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, USA, and colleagues.

Prominent academics, including Salk's Thomas Albright, call for more science in forensic science
Six scientists who recently served on the National Commission on Forensic Science are calling on the scientific community at large to advocate for increased research and financial support of forensic science as well as the introduction of empirical testing requirements to ensure the validity of outcomes.

World Science Forum 2017 Jordan issues Science for Peace Declaration
On behalf of the coordinating organizations responsible for delivering the World Science Forum Jordan, the concluding Science for Peace Declaration issued at the Dead Sea represents a global call for action to science and society to build a future that promises greater equality, security and opportunity for all, and in which science plays an increasingly prominent role as an enabler of fair and sustainable development.

PETA science group promotes animal-free science at society of toxicology conference
The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. is presenting two posters on animal-free methods for testing inhalation toxicity at the 56th annual Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting March 12 to 16, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Citizen Science in the Digital Age: Rhetoric, Science and Public Engagement
James Wynn's timely investigation highlights scientific studies grounded in publicly gathered data and probes the rhetoric these studies employ.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, pharma, and biopharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2016 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Three natural science professors win TJ Park Science Fellowship
Professor Jung-Min Kee (Department of Chemistry, UNIST), Professor Kyudong Choi (Department of Mathematical Sciences, UNIST), and Professor Kwanpyo Kim (Department of Physics, UNIST) are the recipients of the Cheong-Am (TJ Park) Science Fellowship of the year 2016.

Read More: Science News and Science Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.