Starting on June 1, anyone in San Francisco who wants to buy tobacco products must be 21 years of age, an increase from 18, the legal age for a major part of the country.
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The measure comes after unanimous approval from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors yesterday, according to CNN. This new legislation puts San Francisco, Boston, New York and 100 other U.S. cities into the group that have raised the age to buy any tobacco product, including cigarettes and e-cigarettes. In January, the entire state of Hawaii became the first one to raise the smoking age to 21 in hopes to push down the number of smokers there.
The main reason to push up the age is so that teenagers don't become addicted to the products, especially between the ages of 15 and 17 when their brains are still developing. Even if a teenager isn't doing the smoking, secondhand smoke is just as troubling, with nearly 48% of teens coming into contact with it on a regular basis, according to a recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and other groups have encourage raising the minimum age for the entire country. In doing so, nearly 250,000 premature deaths would be prevents, there would be 50,000 fewer deaths from lung cancer, and fewer people in general would be addicted to it.
This would also mean that no one in a traditional high school setting would be able to buy tobacco products, said Dr. Karen Wilson, an associate professor of pediatrics at Children's Hospital Colorado. "Many children under 18 get tobacco from those over 18 at their school," she said.
Wilson also stated that being exposed to nicotine could result in the chance of addiction later in life.
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"Tobacco (is) arguably the most addictive substance on the planet, which has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, in any way, shape or form," said CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. "No matter what your age, smoking is one of the single worst things you can do to your body."