CMAJ Commentary

There is a Commentary in the February 27th, 2017 issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal about Tobacco 2 entitled: A fresh approach to tobacco control:  raising the minimum legal age for access.

The main points made are:

• As evidence has accumulated regarding the substantial harm
caused by using tobacco, progressive public health measures
have been instituted to reduce population exposure.
• The human brain continues to develop until age 25 years;
exposure of the developing brain to the neurotoxic effects of
nicotine increases the risk of drug-seeking behaviour and mood
• Early smoking initiation increases the amount people smoke
and makes it more difficult for them to quit.
• Raising the minimum legal age for buying tobacco to at least age
21 years, as instituted in many jurisdictions, would reduce
smoking initiation, reduce overall smoking prevalence, prevent
diseases associated with tobacco throughout the life course and
save lives.

“Eighteen or nineteen is too young to be allowed legal access to an addictive and carcinogenic product that can never be used safely,” writes Dr. Oyston. “Raising the minimum legal age for access to tobacco is a scientifically proven, legally and politically quick, cheap and effective way to deprive the tobacco industry of recruiting a new generation of young people as their customers.”

“Canada should pass federal legislation banning the supply of all tobacco and nicotine-containing products — excluding smoking cessation products — to anyone under the age of 21.”


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