RI: Ask your lawmaker to support #Tobacco21RI

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Support S462/H5603 to raise the tobacco sale age to 21

Dear [Decision Maker],

As a volunteer with ACS CAN and your constituent, I write to urge you to support S462/H5603 to increase the age of sale for all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to 21.

The use of e-cigarettes among our youth has reached epidemic proportions. Usage rates of tobacco products have tripled in middle and high schools in the past 2 years. E-cigarette use among high school students has risen by 78% in the last year and 48% among middle school students. This problem isn't going away on its own, we need you to help. Given that 95% of smoker start before age 21, increasing the age of sale from 18 to 21 will limit opportunities for teens to begin regular daily use.




Fourteen states have now raised the sale age for ALL tobacco products including electronic cigarettes to 21. Massachusetts, Maine, New Jersey and Vermont have enacted Tobacco 21 laws. A Tobacco 21 bill is awaiting the Governor's signature in New York and the Connecticut House recently voted in favor of raising the age. That's nearly the entire Northeast. If we don't act, Rhode Island will be an outlier in protecting our youth and young people from tobacco and nicotine addiction.

Meanwhile, the tobacco industry is specifically marketing to our youth, and tobacco industry documents prove that this is no accident. Beyond that fact, tobacco use takes a financial toll. Rhode Island can reduce long term health care costs by passing this bill. The annual health care costs in Rhode Island directly caused by smoking total $640 million with more than $216 million of these expenditures incurred by the Medicaid program. It's time that Rhode Island steps up to join the rest of the country in protecting our youth.

I look forward to hearing your response.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]
[Your Email]