AHA Backs Bill To Move Nicotine Purchase Age To 21

Aug 29, 2019

Credit Pixabay.com lindsayfox

It might be more difficult to get nicotine if you're school age...

"...One in five high schoolers, one in nine middle schoolers have tried e-cigarettes. In the high school I have locally, the officer there says it's more like 50 percent in high school...."

Those words of  Brad Gast from the American Heart Association in Wausau. He revealed the numbers that's driving a measure in the Wisconsin legislature to prohibit the sale of vaping products to anyone under 21. The bill also would move the minimum age for purchasing nicotine and tobacco products like chewing tobacco and traditional cigarettes from 18 to 21.

Brad Gast says the use of e-cigarettes, or vaping, is relatively new and the law hasn't caught up with the on-the-street use. Gast says the fear is that people who vape will move to more traditional forms of nicotine...

"...95 percent of adults who smoke began before the age of 21. It's a time when a lot of our values are formed. If we can discourage use it negates a lifetime of being addicted to nicotine products..."

He also says it impacts brain development among young people...

"...It really affects brain development. It has some negative affects on learning. It also could increase the probability of addiction to other drugs in a person's lifetime, so these are very dangerous products..."

Gast says not only has the American Heart Association backed the bill, it has broad support among healthcare providers, youth groups also among a bipartisan group in the legislature.