INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis could be the next city to join the nationwide movement to reduce tobacco use in younger Americans by raising the legal age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21.
An Institute of Medicine report from 2015 found that by increasing the minimum legal age for smoking we could help stop younger teens from starting and could lead to a 12 percent decrease in adult smoking by the time today’s teens grow up.
The Alliance for a Healthier Indiana is hosting a town hall meeting titled “Should Indianapolis Raise the Age of Tobacco Purchase to 21” on Wednesday from 6 – 7:30 p.m. at The Hatch at 6161 N. Hillside Avenue.
Speakers at the event will range from community leaders to elected officials including:
Colleen Fanning, Indianapolis City Councilor
Dr. Paul Halverson, Dean, IU Fairbanks School of Public Health
Bryan Mills, President and CEO, Community Health Network
Dr. Virginia Caine, Director, Marion County Public Health Department
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 90 percent of adult smokers began smoking before the age of 20.
“We are programmed as adolescents to try new things, which is a perfect recipe for dangerous things,” Rob Crane, President of Tobacco21 told Time Magazine.
The survey also says that each day 2,300 kids under 18 try smoking for the first time and 350 kids who had already experimented with cigarettes become a new, regular smoker.
There are currently five states and over 270 cities in the United States where you must be 21 years old to buy tobacco products.
Oregon became the fifth state in August, joining California, Hawaii, New Jersey and Maine.
See a full list of cities and states that have already raised the minimum age for buying tobacco products below.