The bill, proposed last Wednesday by a group of four Republican legislators in the N.C. House of Representatives, would raise the legal minimum age to purchase and possess tobacco products by three years, through it would grandfather in people who are currently 18 years old.
Morgan Wittman Gramann is the executive director of the North Carolina Alliance for Health, an independent coalition that advocates for wellness and the prevention of obesity and tobacco use. She said in an email that she supports the bill.
“Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and North Carolina,” Gramann said.
Nearly 80 percent of adult smokers begin smoking by the age of 18, Gramann said, and adolescents are especially vulnerable to nicotine addictions.
“Raising the minimum legal sale age of tobacco to 21 has the potential to significantly reduce the number of adolescents and young adults who start smoking,” she said.
Bills raising the minimum legal sale age of tobacco are being adopted in states across the United States and are extremely popular, Gramann said.
“With broad support among men and women and people of all education, income, races and age groups, it is very possible that this legislation will gain traction in North Carolina,” she said.