COLUMBUS (WCMH) – A group of researchers at Ohio State University are leading the charge to make it harder for teens to get their hands on a pack of cigarettes.
Ohio State public health reachers are well into their second year of educating central Ohio communities on tobacco use.
Starting with why the tobacco purchasing age should be changed from 18 to 21.
“Understand how addiction works is important in knowing that if you become addicted before the age of 18 to tobacco, you are 80 percent likely to smoke as an adult smoker,” says Natalie Hemmerich, Ohio State University researcher.
In 2015, Hemmerich and a group of other researchers started a petition to raise the sale age on tobacco locally, and it worked. Upper Arlington, Bexley, and Grandview hall all raised its tobacco sale age. Joining 176 communities across 11 states, as well as the entire states of Hawaii and California.
“The thing that is important to realize is that 90 percent the of smokers start before the age of 18,” said Liz Klein, Associate Professor with the College of Public Health at Ohio State University. “Because we are talking about an addictive product if we increases the age, we maybe able to interfere with that uptake that puts people at risk for addiction.”
- Often people who supply cigarettes to teens are 18 to 20. Raising the minimum salves age to 21 puts legal purchasers outside the social circle of high-school students.
- Tobacco sales to people under the age of 21 account for only 2 percent of tobacco sales.
OSU researchers say Columbus should expect the sale age on tobacco to change to 21 soon. Adding that the Department of Health and City Council are also taking steps to make that happen.