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Am J Public Health. 2014 Nov;104(11):e18-21. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302174. Epub 2014 Sep 11.

Retail impact of raising tobacco sales age to 21 years.

Author information

Jonathan P. Winickoff, Minghua L. Chen, and Emara Nabi-Burza are with the Center for Child and Adolescent Health Research and Policy, Division of General Academic Pediatrics, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, Boston. Lester Hartman is with Westwood/Mansfield Pediatrics, Westwood, MA. Mark Gottlieb is with the Public Health Advocacy Institute, Northeastern University School of Law, Boston. Joseph R. DiFranza is with the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA.


The majority of tobacco use emerges in individuals before they reach 21 years of age, and many adult distributors of tobacco to youths are young adults aged between 18 and 20 years. Raising the tobacco sales minimum age to 21 years across the United States would decrease tobacco retailer and industry sales by approximately 2% but could contribute to a substantial reduction in the prevalence of youths' tobacco use and dependency by limiting access.

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