(HealthDay News) — Three-quarters of American adults favor raising the legal smoking age to 21, according to a report published online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
While support for such a law was strongest among older adults and those who never smoked, 70% of smokers also supported the concept. Only 11% of adults strongly opposed such a policy, while 14% were somewhat opposed, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers found.
“Raising the minimum age of sale [of tobacco products] to 21 could benefit the health of Americans in several ways,” Brian King, Ph.D., acting deputy director for research translation in the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, said in an agency news release. “It could delay the age of first experimenting with tobacco, reducing the likelihood of transitioning to regular use and increasing the likelihood that those who do become regular users can quit,” he explained.
Although Hawaii raised the legal smoking age to 21 in June, 18 is the minimum age in most states. However, the minimum age is 19 in Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey, and Utah, the CDC said. And several cities and counties across the nation have raised the minimum age to 21, the agency added.