Texas Raises Tobacco Purchase Age to 21
Tobacco control policies are proven to change behavior and improve health. Policy recommendations include institutional action and legislative education at all levels of government.
Smoke-free and tobacco-free policies: Regulations prohibiting smoking in the workplace, public housing, college campuses and public gathering places like baseball stadiums protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke. However, smoke-free laws and tobacco-free policies not only reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, but also motivate and help tobacco users quit and prevent initiation of tobacco use.
Tobacco 21: The adolescent brain is more susceptible to nicotine because teens are still going through critical periods of growth and development. Increasing the minimum age of purchase of tobacco products to 21 years old is predicted to delay the age of initiation and reduce the risk of becoming regular smokers.
Tobacco taxation: Tobacco price increases are proven to reduce youth initiation and decrease adult consumption of cigarettes.
Tobacco Free Hiring: In an effort to combat lung cancer and other serious diseases, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center adopted a tobacco-free hiring policy on January 1, 2015. Under the new policy, all MD Anderson applicants are screened for tobacco use as part of the standard application process. Job seekers who test positive for cotinine (a metabolite of nicotine used as a biomarker for nicotine exposure) are contacted and those who report use of nicotine replacement thereapy (NRT) have their sample retested specifically for the presence of anabasine (a tobacco derivative not found in NRT products), to verify NRT self-report. Those who test positive for cotinine and admit that they use tobacco, and those who test positive for both cotinine and anabasine are not eligible for immediate employment. However, if the applicant remains interested in working at MD Anderson, they will be given access to tobacco cessation materials, but more importantly, to our on-site Tobacco Treatment Program (Cinciripini, Karam-Hage, Kypriotakis et al., 2019), with instructions for obtaining free assistance. Applicants will then be permitted to apply for open positions and undergo a new screening test following a waiting period of 180 days. The new policy affects all potential executives, faculty and staff interested in joining the cancer center. It does not impact those employed by MD Anderson prior to 2015. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Research shows that tobacco control policies result in less young people starting to smoke and more adults trying to quit. And an overwhelming amount of evidence links smoke-free laws to reduced lung cancer deaths, heart disease rates and asthma emergencies.
We partner with advocacy groups to educate lawmakers on the public health benefits of evidence-based tobacco control policies.