Study: Massachusetts Town Reduces Teen Smoking
In 2005, the town of Needham, Massachusetts raised the age for tobacco sales to twenty-one and a recent study examining the teen nicotine use in the following years confirms that teen smoking has declined as a result.
The study findings were published in Tobacco Control and contained information from sixteen thousand high school students in Needham and sixteen other communities between the years of 2006 and 2012—according to The Fix, the data “was collected on four occasions” during those years (Ackerman, 2015). During that time, the number of teenagers (i.e., those under the age of eighteen) in Needham buying cigarettes declined from 18.4 percent to 11.6 percent and smoking in the last thirty days declined from 12.9 percent to 5.5 percent (Ackerman, 2015). The statistics from other communities “either changed less drastically or didn’t change at all” (Ackerman, 2015).
Shari Kessel Schneider, the lead author of the study, stated that “more than 80 percent of smokers begin before eighteen. Our findings provide strong support for initiatives going on all across the country to increase the sales age as a means for decreasing youth access to cigarettes, initiation of smoking, and ultimately addiction” (Ackerman, 2015).
As a result of the study in Needham, many cities and towns in the US have raised their tobacco sales age to twenty-one, and some have even raised it to nineteen.
Ackerman, M. (2015). Study finds raising tobacco sales age to twenty-one drastically reduces teen smoking. Retrieved from http://www.thefix.com/content/study-finds-raising-tobacco-sales-age-21-drastically-reduces-teen-smoking