TSET Weighs Possibility of Cigarette Ban Legislation in US

News 9 - December 22, 2022 6:39 am

Some countries are taking drastic measures to try and eliminate smoking. New Zealand, for example, passed legislation that will soon go into effect that will ban anyone born after 2008 from buying cigarettes or other tobacco products.

Officials from the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trusts (TSET) say they don’t believe something like that could happen in the U.S. However, they do believe that the current steps the U.S. is taking will continue to lower tobacco use.

Thomas Larson, the Director of Public information and outreach at TSET, said that tobacco use is one of the leading causes of preventable death in the country. In Oklahoma alone, roughly 7,500 people die each year from tobacco use. While Larson does not believe an outright ban on tobacco would work in the United States, he said that there are a couple of federal rules in the review process that could reduce tobacco use across the board.

“One of those would ban flavors like menthol and other flavors in cigarettes and little cigars, and we know that menthol and other flavors are attractive to youth and make tobacco products easier to smoke and more addictive,” Larson said.

Another measure is looking at lowering the nicotine level in cigarettes to minimal non-addictive levels to try and lower the tobacco use and smoking rates in the United States.

A measure that has already been put in place to reduce tobacco use has been to increase the age to legally purchase tobacco, from 18 to 21. Larson said that even a small tax increase could further reduce tobacco consumption levels.

“Any increase in cigarette taxes or tobacco taxes when you make those products more expensive, you will see a decrease in consumption. You will also see fewer youth picking up the tobacco use because youth are more price sensitive,” Larson said.

Oklahoma has seen its tobacco consumption rate go down in recent years, from roughly 40% of adults using it to now just under 17% of adults.


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