WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Widespread Support for Senator Young’s Tobacco to 21 Act
WASHINGTON– Following the introduction of the Tobacco to 21 Act by U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), several Indiana and national organizations have commended the bipartisan legislation, which would prohibit the sale of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to anyone under the age of 21.
Indiana Statements of Support:
Indiana Hospital Association President Brian Tabor:
“We are grateful for Senator Young’s leadership to reduce smoking rates among Hoosiers. Indiana’s smoking rate of 21 percent is one of the highest in the nation. With over 4,100 Hoosiers under age 18 becoming new daily smokers each year, raising the age of tobacco purchase from 18 to 21 would be a huge deterrent for future smokers. This legislation is an important step to reduce the deaths, disease, and health care costs caused by tobacco use and will unequivocally save lives.”
Richard M Fairbanks School of Public Health at Indiana University IUPUI, Founding Dean and Professor Dr. Paul Halverson:
“I ardently commend Senators Young, Schatz, Romney, and Durbin for their leadership in supporting a strong, evidence-based proposal to raise the age to purchase tobacco products to 21. Federal action is long overdue as tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. The National Academy of Medicine predicts that nationwide legislation that delays the legal purchase of tobacco products by those younger than 21 can prevent youth smoking initiation by 25 percent, decrease smoking overall smoking rates by 12 percent, avert 225,000 premature deaths, and prevent 4.2 million years of life lost. This proposal, coupled with higher tobacco prices and adequately funded tobacco prevention programs, can make a huge difference by reducing the economic burden of tobacco-related diseases and improving the quality and length of life for millions of Americans!”
Indiana State Medical Association President Stacie Wenk, DO:
“Raising the age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21 is a proven way to reduce the availability of tobacco products in schools and to prevent youth from becoming smokers. For these reasons, ISMA welcomes Tobacco 21 legislation from Indiana Sen. Todd Young and other leaders in Congress as a step to improve the health of our state and nation.”
Community Health Network CEO Bryan Mills and founding member of the Alliance for a Healthier Indiana:
"The Alliance for a Healthier Indiana applauds Senator Young for his commitment to moving the needle on Hoosier public health outcomes. Indiana has worked hard to become an attractive place to live, work and do business. However, consistently poor health rankings undermine our progress. Senator Young’s legislation to raise the age of tobacco purchase from 18 to 21 shows he is a dedicated partner in creating a health climate for the next generation to come."
Indiana Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Kevin Brinegar:
“The Indiana Chamber strongly agrees that the minimum age for purchasing and using tobacco products should be age 21. This would absolutely cut down on the number of smokers and, in the long term, improve Indiana's overall health rankings, which are already in the bottom 10 nationally and unfortunately only getting worse. Increasing the legal age has been a priority of ours for several years on the state level but has met resistance in the Indiana General Assembly. So, we are very encouraged by Senator Young taking up this mantle in the U.S. Senate. In Indiana alone, smoking costs $2.8 billion in business productivity losses and nearly $3.3 billion in annual health care costs. Something needs to be done and we commend Sen. Young for recognizing the urgency for action."
Floyd Central High School’s Teens for Tobacco 21 (T4TT):
“Our youth led Teens for Tobacco 21 (T4TT) group in Southern Indiana appreciate your effort with this.”
Support from National Organizations:
American Lung Association National President and CEO Harold Wimmer:
“The American Lung Association strongly supports the Tobacco to 21 Act introduced today, and thanks Senators Schatz, Young, Durbin, and Romney, and Representatives DeGette and Stewart for taking this step to protect public health. This legislation comes at a critical time - our youth face an e-cigarette epidemic, and increasing the minimum age of sale to 21 will help reduce the number of young people who use and become addicted to tobacco products.”
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids President Matthew L. Myers:
“The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids strongly supports the Tobacco to 21 Act, and we applaud Sen. Schatz, Sen. Young, Sen. Durbin, and Sen. Romney for introducing this bipartisan legislation to help prevent young people from starting down a path that often leads to addiction, disease and premature death. Raising the tobacco age to 21 is an important component of a comprehensive strategy to reverse the youth e-cigarette epidemic and continue reducing tobacco use in the United States. As 95 percent of adult smokers start smoking before turning 21, this legislation will help prevent young people from using tobacco and save lives.”
American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown:
“The Tobacco to 21 Act takes bold and necessary action to reduce tobacco use among youth and young adults. With 95 percent of tobacco users having started their life-threatening habit before age 21, raising the minimum sales age for all tobacco products to 21 nationwide will reduce tobacco use, nicotine addiction and tobacco-related disease and death. The American Heart Association is proud to support this important public health legislation, and we are grateful to Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), Senator Todd Young (R-IN), Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT), Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO), and Representative Chris Stewart (R-UT) for their leadership on this issue. This bill is an essential step in reaching the tobacco endgame of eliminating tobacco use and nicotine addiction in our nation.”
Joint Statement by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association and American Academy of Pediatrics:
“Our public health and medical organizations strongly support the Tobacco to 21 Act, legislation introduced in Congress today that prohibits the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21 nationwide. We applaud Sens. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Todd Young (R-IN), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Chris Stewart (R-UT) for introducing this bipartisan legislation to help prevent young people from starting down a path that often leads to addiction, disease and premature death. Raising the tobacco age of sale to 21 is an important component of a comprehensive strategy to reverse the youth e-cigarette epidemic and continue reducing tobacco use in the United States...”
The Tobacco to 21 Actis supported by the Academic Pediatric Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American College of Preventive Medicine, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Pediatric Society, American Public Health Association, Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations, Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs, Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs, Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, First Focus Campaign for Children, National African-American Tobacco Prevention Network, Pediatric Policy Council, Society for Pediatric Research, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, National Association of County and City Health Officials, and Trust for America’s Health.
Click here to learn more about the Tobacco to 21 Act.
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