Youth Access to Tobacco Products

A Policy Statement of the North Carolina Council of Churches, January 1997

Summary

The Current Status

  • Tobacco use is the number one preventable cause of premature death and disease- .Approximately 25,000 North Carolina teenagers start smoking each year.
  • Most smokers start at the ages of 13 and 14, with 90% starting before the age of 20.
  • The earlier a person starts to use tobacco, the less likely it is that he/she will succeed at later efforts to quit.
  • It is already the law in North Carolina that tobacco not be sold to anyone under the age of 18.

Recommendations

  1. Delete the word “knowingly” from the present state law concerning the sale of cigarettes to minors, so that the law can be enforced effectively.
  2. Require young adults purchasing tobacco products to show proof that they are 18 or over.
  3. Permit cigarette vending machines only in locations to which minors are not allowed.
  4. Repeal the state law which prohibits local governments from implementing more stringent protection of the public health.

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