Louisville, Ky. – A new report released to today indicates that the majority of Kentucky adults are in favor of raising the legal age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21.
Data from the Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP), released by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Interact for Health, says 60 percent are in favor of the age increase. Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. that has increased the minimum legal age for buying tobacco products to 21.
However, when it comes to raising the excise tax on cigarettes, KHIP found that Kentucky adults were evenly divided on the idea.
“Raising the minimum legal age to buy tobacco serves as a deterrent to keep teenagers from starting tobacco use,” said Susan Zepeda, President/CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. “While KHIP shows mixed opinions about increasing cigarette taxes, the data clearly indicates the majority of Kentucky adults recognize the need to try and keep young people from starting tobacco use by raising the minimum legal age to purchase tobacco products.”
- More than 6 in 10 (61 percent) of those who identified themselves as being Republican or Democrat favor raising the age to buy tobacco products; 55 percent of Independents favor the change in age.
- More than 6 in 10 adults (64 percent) of those who have never smoked favor raising the age; 57 percent of current and former smokers were favorable.
- Half (51 percent) oppose a cigarette excise tax increase of $1 per pack; 45 percent favor an increase on the cigarette tax by $1 per pack.
- More than 8 in 10 (85 percent) current smokers oppose an excise tax increase on cigarettes;
- 6 in 10 (59 percent) of those who have never smoked favor a cigarette tax increase; 51 percent of former smokers favor an excise tax increase of $1 per pack.
- Slightly more Republicans (47 percent) than Democrats (45 percent) and Independents (42 percent) favor a cigarette excise tax increase of $1 per pack.
More than 1 in 4 (26 percent) Kentucky adults reported being a smoker. National statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal 18.1% of adults are smokers.