Maryland Children are Breathing Easier Thanks to Governor Hogan and the General Assembly

The Maryland Tobacco Free Coalition which includes the American Heart Association (AHA), American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN),  American Lung Association (ALA), Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, and Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation/Tobacco 21 are pleased to announce that Governor Hogan has signed HB 1169 legislation raising the minimum legal sales age of all tobacco products to twenty-one.

Maryland joins twelve other states and more than 450 localities in the nationwide movement to pass such legislation. Keeping tobacco products out of the hands of those under 21 will help result in fewer deaths caused by cancer and other preventable diseases. This bill has tremendous potential to save lives since 95 percent of adult smokers begin their deadly addiction before they turn 21. Unless current smoking rates decline, 92,000 kids who are alive in our state today will eventually die prematurely from tobacco-related illnesses, which is nearly double the number of 2019 graduating high school seniors in the entire state of Maryland.

“We applaud Governor Hogan for signing this bill which promises to help protect future generations from a lifetime of tobacco-related illnesses, “says Tracy Brazelton, Executive Director, American Heart Association of Greater Maryland. “States across the country continue to pass Tobacco 21 laws because there is growing evidence that these laws can dramatically reduce smoking rates among teens.”

“We thank Gov. Hogan for supporting and signing this legislation to raise Maryland’s tobacco age to 21,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “With this bold step, Maryland will help prevent young people from starting to use tobacco, save lives and help make the next generation tobacco-free.”

“We know that Big Tobacco continues to target our kids to the tune of more than $9 billion on marketing each year – pouring a whopping $128.8 million into Maryland alone. Today, Gov. Hogan has helped our state take a huge step towards combating the tobacco industry’s influence on our youth and protecting future generations of Maryland children from becoming addicted to this deadly product,” said Jocelyn Collins, Director of Government Relations for ACS CAN in Maryland.

“The Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation thanks Governor Hogan for his endorsement of this important prevention policy to protect youth and help keep tobacco and nicotine out of Maryland schools. As the 13th state to enact a Tobacco 21 law, we applaud Maryland’s commitment to addressing the youth vaping epidemic and reducing youth use of tobacco and nicotine,” said Shannon Quinby, Eastern Regional Director of Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation/Tobacco 21.

Thank you, Governor Hogan, Delegate Dereck Davis and Senator Delores Kelley, for your leadership and vision to create a healthier Maryland,” says Alyssa Cobb, senior at Towson High School. “Because of your leadership a path towards a tobacco free future is paved for my generation and beyond.”

“Governor Hogan and the state legislators who supported this law proved that they are truly focused on the health of their constituents. With our nation facing a youth e-cigarette epidemic, driven in part by the rise of easily concealable and fruit- and candy-flavored tobacco products, Tobacco 21 laws are now more important than ever. This law protects children by preventing and reducing smoking rates, and also saves both healthcare costs and lives. The American Lung Association will continue our work in fighting for strong Tobacco 21 laws across the nation,” says Harold Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association.

The policy will go into effect October 1, 2019 and will help reduce tobacco use among teen and young adults – age groups heavily targeted by the tobacco industry.

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