People will soon need to be 21 years or older to buy tobacco products at Walgreens or Rite Aid stores. The move comes amid growing concerns over the use of e-cigarettes and smoking among teens.
Cigarette smoking among high school students dropped to the lowest levels since the 1991, but the use of electronic vapor products, including e-cigarettes, among students poses new challenges according to the 2018 survey results released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While cigarette use has dropped, more than 1 in 4 high school students and about 1 in 14 middle school students in 2018 had used a tobacco product in the past 30 days. This is a considerable increase from 2017. E-cigarette use increased from 11.7% to 20.8% among high school students and from 3.3% to 4.9% among middle school students from 2017 to 2018.
Tobacco Use Among Teens in 2018:
- E-cigarettes are still the most commonly used tobacco product, ahead of cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, hookah, and pipes.
- E-cigarettes are the most commonly used product in combination with other tobacco products.
- E-cigarette use is highest for boys, whites, and high school students.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated he will introduce the federal legislation next month to make 21 years the national minimum. In the meantime, Walgreens’ new policy will take effect in September, and Rite Aid will make theirs effective in the next 90 days.
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Sources: CDC, Tobacco Product Use Among Middle and High School Students — United States, 2011-2018.