San Francisco Considers Raising Age For Buying Tobacco To 21
The city of New York has done it. So has the state of Hawaii.
Now, San Francisco will consider a measure to raise the legal age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21.
According to a report from the Institute of Medicine, raising the legal age to buy tobacco would significantly reduce the number of young people who start smoking. The report says in time, that would reduce smoking-related deaths.
Debra Kelley, the American Lung Association's advocacy director in San Diego and Imperial counties, said most adult smokers pick up the habit before they’re 21.
“That’s when the tobacco industry can basically turn an experimental smoker into an addicted smoker," Kelley said. "It really occurs during that 18- to 21-year-old time frame.”
Kelley added enforcing a higher legal age to purchase tobacco would be up to retailers.
Earlier this year, California lawmakers rejected a bill that would have raised the legal age to buy tobacco statewide.