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New minimum tobacco age is 21

New minimum tobacco age is 21

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Approximately 1,300 people die every day in the United States from smoking-related diseases. Studies have shown that almost all adult smokers — 94% — started smoking before the age of 21. Youth and young adults are particularly vulnerable to tobacco addiction because their brains are still developing until age 25.

On Dec. 20, 2019, the federal age to purchase all tobacco and nicotine products was raised to 21 years old. The increased age restrictions apply to all tobacco products sold in the U.S., including cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, hookah tobacco, cigars, pipe tobacco, electronic cigarettes and e-liquids. Individuals who could once purchase tobacco/nicotine products prior to Dec. 20, 2019, are no longer be able to. Seniors in high school are often the supply source for their younger classmates. By raising the tobacco purchasing age to 21, that social supply is disrupted since a typical high school freshman knows fewer 21-year-olds than 18-year-olds

The Tobacco 21 Law is an important element of a comprehensive public health approach to reducing tobacco use. In conjunction with Tobacco 21, we can help prevent tobacco use and addiction in our youth and young adults by:

1) Eliminating all flavored tobacco products.

2) Stopping online sales.

3) Increasing taxes on all tobacco products (including e-cigarettes).

Tobacco 21 is a tool that the Federal Drug Administration can use to help keep tobacco out of the hands of youth. To report a potential tobacco violation, visit Report Potential Tobacco Product Violation/FDA. The Monroe County Health Department is a committed member of the 7C’s Health Initiative Coalition and supports reaching a healthier Wisconsin. The 7C’s embraces tobacco-free communities and encourages tobacco retailers in Wisconsin to take advantage of free training to help them avoid underage sales by visiting

For more on local tobacco prevention and control efforts, visit the 7C’s website at or follow us on Facebook or Instagram @7CsHealthInitiative.


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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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