Tobacco 21 Efforts in Kansas City
The Kansas City metro area is a leader in the efforts to reduce teen vaping and tobacco use through Tobacco 21 policies. Since, 2015 more than 28 jurisdictions in the Kansas City area have raised the age of sale for vaping and tobacco products to 21. More than 1.5 million residents in the metro area now live in cities or jurisdictions with Tobacco 21 policies. In Johnson County, 12 jurisdictions have passed Tobacco 21 policies.
The National Institute of Medicine estimates that these policies may reduce usage rates by 25 percent in 15-17 year-olds and 15 percent in 18-20 year-olds. This is great news but there is still lots to be tackled. Unfortunately, the introduction of JUUL and other new vaping products has drastically changed the outlook over the last year.
According to new findings from the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey, vaping increased nearly 80 percent among high schoolers and 50 percent among middle schoolers since last year. This startling surge is troubling and could reverse decades of progress in in our community.
Help From the Federal Level
In response to the huge increase in youth e-cigarette use, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently introduced restrictions on flavored e-cigarettes and tobacco products. The FDA plans to ban sales of most flavored e-cigarettes in retail stores and gas stations, in an effort to reduce the popularity of vaping among young people. The agency also plans to require age-verification measures for online sales to try to ensure that minors are not able to buy the flavor pods.
Get Involved In Tobacco 21 Efforts
More cities across the metro that do not have Tobacco 21 policies, including some in Johnson County, are discussing raising the age of sale of tobacco products, which includes e-cigarettes, in the upcoming weeks and months. These local policies along with action at the Federal level will have a positive impact on the health of our youth and may prevent a lifetime of addiction and health problems for many.
The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Healthy KC initiative has been the primary advocate for Tobacco 21 policies in the Kansas City metro area. If you are interested in supporting these efforts or would like more information contact: Scott Hall, Senior Vice President, Civic and Community Initiatives at [email protected] or 816-374-5437.