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The Revere City Council is in the process of reviewing a motion to raise the legal sales age of tobacco in Revere gradually from 18 to 21. Tobacco companies know that youth are more vulnerable to addiction when they are younger, and that is why they market to kids with products that look like candy.

Should we just stand by and let our youth pay with their health, while the tobacco companies fill their pockets? The burden of death, disease, and disability by the use of tobacco products doesn’t just lie with the smoker, but society as well. In the US $193 billion are spent in tobacco-related health cost and productivity loss.

Let’s stand together and send a message that as a community we will advocate for our kids! Please support this motion by testifying before the legislative subcommittee:

Monday, March 10 at 5 PM in the City Council Chamber

If you can’t attend please write a letter or email to the City Council Members:


20% of Revere high school students have smoked cigarettes in the past 30 days. That is about 300 kids. If those kids turn into daily smokers, 1/3 of them will eventually die from tobacco health related problems. (2011 Revere Youth Risk Behavior Survey)

Most Adult Smokers Start Smoking Before Age 21
“If a man has never smoked by age 18, the odds are three-to-one he never will. By age 21, the odds are twenty-to-one.”
— RJ Reynolds, September 10, 1982

• National data show that 95 percent of adult smokers begin smoking before they turn 21. The ages of 18 to 21 are also a critical period when many smokers move from experimental smoking to regular, daily use. While nearly half of adult smokers become daily smokers before age 18, more than 75 percent do so before they turn 21.

• Nicotine is incredibly addictive, and adolescents and young adults are more susceptible to its effects because their brains are still developing. Delaying the age when young people first experiment with or begin using tobacco can reduce the risk that they will become addicted smokers.

Tobacco Companies Target Kids and Young Adults

• Tobacco companies intentionally market to kids and young adults in order to recruit “replacement smokers” and protect company profits. They know nearly all users become addicted before age 21. Increasing the tobacco sale age to 21 will help counter the efforts of the tobacco companies to target young people at a critical time when many move from experimenting with tobacco to regular smoking.

Raising the Sale Age Will Help Keep Tobacco Out of High Schools

• Research shows that kids often turn to older friends and classmates as sources of cigarettes. With more high school students turning 18 before graduation, younger kids have regular contact with older students who can legally purchase tobacco for them.

• Raising the tobacco sale age to 21 would reduce the likelihood that a high school student will be able to legally purchase tobacco products for other students and underage friends.

• About 700 kids under the age of 18 become regular smokers each day – one in three will eventually die as result. We should do everything we can to prevent young people from smoking and save lives. Increasing the minimum legal age of sale for tobacco products to 21 will help achieve these goals.

• A similar strategy was highly successful in addressing alcohol sales. A national age 21 law for alcohol sales resulted in dramatic reductions in drunk driving fatalities. At the time, some critics of the policy argued that because 18 year-olds can vote and enlist in the military, they should be allowed to be sold alcohol. Despite these arguments, the increase in the minimum sales age for alcoholic beverages has saved tens of thousands of lives of young drivers, their passengers, and others on the road.


•The burden of death, disease, and disability by the use of tobacco products doesn’t just lie with the smoker, but society as well. In the US $193 billion are spend in tobacco-related health cost and productive loss.


• Research has shown that when minimal legal sales age of tobacco are adequately enforced, they are effective in reducing or delaying smoking initiation among youth. This leads to lower smoking prevalence rates, saving millions of dollars in health care costs as well as significantly increasing not just the length, but also the quality of life, across populations.

• Delaying the onset of tobacco use is associated with several long-term health benefits. Not only does it reduce the number of life-years available for tobacco use (and of course, the longer a person uses tobacco, the higher the risk of developing severe health consequences), but delays in onset are also associated with a higher probability of successful cessation efforts later.

SOURCE: Tobacco Control Legal Consortium, “Raising the Minimal Legal Sale Age for Tobacco and Related Products”

(“ If I am fighting for my country, I have a right to smoke”)

1. Smoking soldiers are less combat ready and have slower wound healing as compared to their counterparts. Smoking also has been “implicated in higher dropout rates in basic training, poorer visual acuity, higher rates of leaving the service during the first year and higher absenteeism in the active-duty military personnel. In 1995 1/6th of deaths in the DoD population ( including military retirees) were attributed to smoking…”

2. Lung cancer rates are twice as high among soldiers than in the civilian population and response to chemotherapy and 5 year survival rates are poorer.

3. Cost to the tax payers due to tobacco related diseases in the military and VA system
a. In active servicemen/women 1/2 billion dollar per year in medical costs
b. Loss in work productivity of active-duty military personnel due to smoking was over $345 million.
c. The cost of treating emphysema in the VA system per year is $5 billions of which 80% of this disease can be attributed to smoking.

4. The 67% non-smoking military personnel are experiencing the consequences of 2nd hand smoke exposure. 53,000 Americans die per year due to second hand smoke.

Source: Above info is taken from the 2009 Institute of Medicine report for the Department of Defense


• The adult smoking rate is 73% higher in Revere than statewide (25.9% in Revere compared to 15% statewide).

• Revere has the highest lung cancer mortality rate compared to the 6 boarding towns.

• Mortality from lung cancer is 34% higher in Revere compared to Massachusetts.

• Lung cancer incidence is 75% higher among females in Revere compared to the state of Massachusetts. The age-adjusted lung cancer incidence (per 100,000) for females is 114.2 in Revere compared to 65.2 in Massachusetts.

Source: Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program
(617) 624-5900

Ashland, Dedham, Canton, Sharon, Dover, Wellesley, Arlington, Needham (2005), Scituate.

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