Candy, fruit and menthol flavors appeal to kids. In Minnesota, more than 60 percent of students who use tobacco smoke, vape or chew these tempting flavors. When it comes to menthol cigarettes in particular, teens smokers use them more than adult smokers.
If we take flavored tobacco out of convenience stores, we can reduce the number of teens who use it and get hooked on nicotine. Let’s work to make sure all flavored tobacco products—including menthol cigarettes—are solely available in adults-only tobacco shops.
Smokers start young. Almost 95 percent of addicted adult smokers start before age 21. That’s part of the reason why 75 percent of American adults, including 70 percent of current smokers, support raising the tobacco age to 21.
At home here in Minnesota, raising the age to 21 can make a big difference. We could prevent 30,000 Minnesota kids from smoking over the next 15 years.
Every 10 percent increase in the price of tobacco reduces the number of youth who smoke by 5 percent and keeps another 10 percent from ever starting.
The 2013 tobacco tax increase is working in Minnesota. How? For the first time ever, the Minnesota Youth Tobacco survey showed that less than 10 percent of high-schoolers smoke cigarettes. And it’s not only protecting youth from smoking, it’s protecting Minnesota from $3 billion in health care costs.