Public Health Implications of Raising the Minimum Age of Legal Access to Tobacco Products

Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, 2015
Smoking rates in the United States have declined substantially since the release of Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service in 1964, when the prevalence of current cigarette smoking was around 42 percent. Recent estimates reveal that since 1964, tobacco control in the United States has led to 8 million fewer premature deaths and has extended the mean life span at age 40 by about 2 years (Holford et al., 2014). However, tobacco use continues to have major public health implications; while the prevalence of current cigarette smoking among U.S. adults has declined to around 18 percent (Schiller et al., 2014), more than 42 million American adults still smoke (HHS, 2014).

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