New report says raising smoking age would benefit public health
COLUMBIA - A new report supports the Columbia City Council's reasoning behind banning the sale of tobacco products to people under the age of 21.
The Institute of Medicine released a report this week that estimates setting the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21 nationwide would result in, "approximately 223,000
fewer premature deaths, 50,000 fewer deaths from lung cancer, and 4.2 million fewer years of life lost for those born between 2000 and 2019."
In December, the council voted to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. Council members said they enacted the measure because of health concerns.
Despite the national report's projections of health benefits, some Columbia residents still don't support the City Council's decision.
Aminah Ishabimu has worked at a Columbia convenience store since November, before the ordinance passed. She did not want us to identify which shop she works for because of company privacy policies.
"I've noticed more cigarette sales here since the law passed," she said. "I think adding this rule has had a reverse effect since kids want to feel cool, and breaking the law makes smoking seem even cooler to them."
Others said the study strengthens their support of the city council's decision.