By Robert Preidt
Compared to other regions, those with tobacco-21 laws had a 39% decline in regular smoking among 18- to 20-year-olds who had previously experimented with cigarettes, a new study found.
In that age group, the reduction was even larger (50%) among those whose close friends smoked at age 16, according to the study published recently in the journal Addiction.
"This research indicates that a 'social multiplier' effect may amplify the impact of tobacco-21 laws," said lead author Abigail Friedman, an assistant professor at the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Conn.
"As peer smoking is a critical predictor of youth smoking, this study suggests that tobacco-21 laws may help reduce smoking among those most susceptible to tobacco use," she said in a Society for the Study of Addiction news release. "This result supports raising the age of sale to 21 as a means to reduce young adult smoking and improve public health."
As of June, 16 states and more than 400 localities had adopted tobacco-21 laws.