Tobacco use continues to be the number one cause of preventable death in the United States.
This month, the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District will formally request that City Council raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 years.
Research shows that adolescent brains are uniquely vulnerable to the effects of nicotine and nicotine addiction. You are more likely to become addicted to substances if you start to use them before your brain is fully developed.
A 2015 report from the Institute of Medicine – now part of The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine – concluded that "increasing the minimum age of legal access to tobacco products will likely prevent or delay initiation of tobacco use by adolescents and young adults.”
It's not a silver bullet, but over time, the same report predicts raising the minimum age for the sale of tobacco products to 21 will reduce the smoking rate by about 12 percent and smoking-related deaths by 10 percent.
Will San Antonio join 13 of the 40 largest U.S. cities in raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21?
- Colleen Bridger, director of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District
- Rob Crane MD, founder and president of the Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation
- Claudia Rodas, Southern region director for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
Click here to take the San Antonio Metropolitan Health Department's survey about raising the age to buy tobacco.