About the Campaign to Raise the Tobacco Age

More than 95% of smokers start before age 21. In New Jersey, 5,000 kids become daily smokers every year. And one-third of them will die prematurely as a result.

Raising tobacco sale age to 21 is an effective strategy to fight tobacco use and it’s gaining momentum nationwide. New York City has already raised the tobacco sale age, as have dozens of cities across the country. Hawaii recently became the first state to raise the age and now there’s a bill in the New Jersey legislature to do the same. Let’s get it done.

FACT SHEET: Why Raise the Tobacco Sale Age in New Jersey to 21

New Jersey Residents:

Tell Gov. Christie to sign the Tobacco 21 bill!


Why Raise the Age?

Most adult smokers start before age 21.

Some 95 percent of adult smokers began smoking before they turned 21. If we can get people to age 21 without being smokers, they almost certainly never will become smokers. Nicotine is addictive, and youth and young adults are more susceptible to its effects because their brains are still developing. The ages of 18 to 21 are a critical time when many smokers move from experimental smoking to regular, daily use.

Raising the tobacco sales age to 21 will reduce smoking and save lives.

A March 2015 report by the prestigious Institute of Medicine concluded that raising the tobacco age to 21 would significantly reduce smoking among youth and young adults; reduce smoking-caused deaths; and immediately improve the health of youth, young adults and young mothers who would be dissuaded from smoking.

The tobacco industry heavily targets youth and young adults.

The tobacco industry knows youth and young adults are susceptible to nicotine addiction and heavily targets these age groups, spending $9.6 billion each year – more than $1 million every hour – to market its deadly products. In New Jersey alone, we’re talking about more than $185 million annually.

Older teens and young adults are a cigarette source for youth.

Raising the tobacco age to 21 will help keep tobacco out of high schools, where younger teens often obtain tobacco products from older students. With a minimum age of 21, legal purchasers of tobacco products are less likely to be in the same social networks as high school students.

Website powered by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

This campaign is sponsored by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American College of Physicians, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Atlantic Prevention Resources, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Center for Prevention and Counseling, Families Against Addiction Inc., GASP, Medical Society of New Jersey, New Jersey Prevention Network, New Jersey Obstetrical & Gynecological Society, New Jersey Academy of Family Physicians, Oncology Society of New Jersey, Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation, Princeton Tobacco Control Policy Group and Wellspring Center for Prevention.