The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, reports that cigarette use among American adults is at its lowest rate on record. But there’s been a sharp increase in nicotine consumption among teenagers. In fact, teen vaping had the biggest annual rate jump among any substance measured by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in 44 years of reporting.
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., according to the CDC. And American Lung Association reports that nearly all adult smokers had their first cigarette before the age of 21. But research has shown that raising the legal age to 21 nationally could prevent 223,000 deaths among people born since the turn of the century.
That notion is gaining traction in Texas, says Gaby Galvin, a staff writer at U.S. News & World Report.
“Some folks in El Paso, Austin and Denton Country have expressed interest [in the law],” Galvin says.
And San Antonio has actually taken action, becoming the state’s first city to implement a so-called tobacco 21 law in October.
Now, state lawmakers are looking into making 21 the legal age for tobacco purchases statewide. Galvin says this isn’t the first time the legislature has considered such a measure, but this time, it has more support than in years past.
“There is a little bit more bipartisan support of the state bill and … the rise in e-cigarette use among teenagers in just the last couple of years has really gotten a lot more eyes on this issue,” Galvin says.
Written by Morgan Kuehler.