A majority of Michigan residents between 14-24 years old support raising the age for legal purchase of tobacco to 21, according to a new study.
Researchers at the University of Michigan performed both state and national surveys and found roughly 60% support for the policy among young people.
Dr. Holly Jarman worked on the study. She said the health impacts of raising the age are positive. Within 5 years the research predicts 11,000 fewer smokers.
“We really think that young people should be engaged in the decision making process. They are concerned about the health effects of tobacco but they are also interested in talking about responsibility at that age.”
Jarman said many of the people who said they are in favor of the change cited concerns about health. Many of those opposed to tobacco 21 policies pointed out that military service is allowed at a younger age.
Jarman said the change could have long-term impacts as well. By the year 2100 fewer smokers could translate to 17,000 fewer smoking related deaths.
“We obviously know this doesn't just mean a shorter life for you it might mean poorer quality of life for some years. We really want people to avoid smoking if at all possible.”
A bill raising the age for tobacco purchases is currently in the state legislature and Jarman said Governor Whitmer made the initiative part of her platform in 2018.