Have you heard the news? Virginia will become a Tobacco 21 state effective July 1, 2019. This means the legal age to purchase tobacco and nicotine products will change from 18 to 21. (One exception is active duty military who are 18 years of age or older will still be able to purchase.) This means you can not sell to, distribute to, purchase for, or permit the purchase of any tobacco, nicotine vapor, or alternative tobacco product to anyone under the age of 21. And, no one under the age of 21 may purchase, use or possess any tobacco, nicotine vapor, or alternative tobacco product.
The High Stakes of Tobacco Use
Did you know that our brains continue to develop until age 25? The developing teenage brain is vulnerable to the effects of nicotine. An estimated 95% of addicted smokers started before age 21. Additionally, an estimated 350 youth become regular smokers each day in the United States. Early exposure to nicotine increases the risk of addiction and places adolescents at a higher risk for depression, anxiety, substance abuse as well as cancer and other health concerns. Smoking-related diseases cost Virginia more than $3 billion in healthcare costs annually. According to the CDC, more than 10,000 people die each year in Virginia as a result of tobacco use.
We all have a role to play in protecting youth from nicotine addiction and promoting a healthier community. If you’re interested in support to quit tobacco, visit QuitNow.Net/Virginia or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).