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Both Dems And Republicans Want To Raise Smoking Age To 21

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Guy Bentley Research Associate, Reason Foundation

Following Hawaii’s lead, voters in Arizona want to raise the age when adults can buy tobacco to 21, according to the latest poll.

A massive 72 percent of Arizonians polled by MBQF Consulting and Marson Media in sprawling Maricopa County — where Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale and other cities are located —  said they support the 18 to 21 age increase, according to a press release. Only 28 percent of respondents said they oppose the move.

“What was interesting was that support to increase the legal age was basically the same between Republicans, Democrats and Independent voters,” said CEO of MBQF Consulting Mike Noble in a press release sent to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Hawaii became the first state to boost tobacco and e-cigarette purchasing age to 21, with the law taking effect Jan. 1.

Banning people under 18 from buying e-cigarettes, however, could have the opposite effect policy makers intend as smoking rates among 12 to 17-year-olds actually rose in states with bans on minors, according to a study by Abigail Friedman of the Yale School of Public Health published Oct. 19 in the Journal of Health Economics.

“Such bans yield a statistically significant 0.9 percentage point increase in recent smoking in this age group, relative to states without such bans,” Friedman said. The study controlled for smoking rates within states.

But on the national level, cigarette smoking among young adults is at record lows while e-cigarette use is surging. (RELATED: Gallup Poll Shows Smoking Rate Collapsing As E-Cigarette Use Soars)

The Gallup poll reported a decline in smoking among adults aged 18-29 by 12 percentage points to 22 percent over the past decade.

The findings “align with those found in a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, which found that cigarette smoking has dropped most sharply among 18- to 24-year-olds,” said Gallup.

Smoking rates have been a downward trend for decades, with the percentage of current smokers now down to a little under 18 percent.

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