For many years, some have wondered what type of impact could come of raising the minimum age for the purchasing of tobacco products. Although the legal age for alcohol consumption is 21, the age for buying tobacco products has long been 18. While tobacco control efforts in the United States have likely saved an estimated 8 million lives over the last 50 years, there is still more to be done. This is why many health and policy professionals are still considering the implications of raising the age for tobacco purchase.

A report from the Institute of Medicine released last month “found increasing the minimum age to purchase cigarettes from 18 to 21 could have an astounding impact. It would result in an estimated 12 percent decrease in smoking prevalence — and the prevention of 249,000 premature deaths among Americans born between 2000 and 2019.” After all, 90% of adults who smoke explain that they started before the age of 21– supporting implications that raising the age to 21 could minimize smoking tremendously.

What do you think of this concept?

Click here to read the full article by Ronald A. DePinho, M.D. for Huffington Post.