TOBACCO USE IN EVERETT
Photo and Story
By Kate Resnek
Everett recently followed suit with the nearly 170 other Massachusetts cities and towns that have raised the legal age for tobacco sale to 21.
This change was approved by the Everett Board of Health. Their reasoning behind this change is to get younger people to stop smoking.
According to local Health Department of cials and store owners selling tobacco products is having the expected effect.
Fewer people are smoking cigarettes. Local stores selling cigarettes have fewer customers.
“We have definitely lost customers because 18-21 is a big group,” said an employee at Everett Square Convenience on Broadway.
Simply put, 18-21 is an age range that makes up nearly 15 percent of all smokers in this country according to the Centers for Disease Control.
The reduction of available customers has hurt sales significantly. In many Everett cigarette shops.
At Guy’s Smoke Shop just a little further up the street employees were noticing the same problem.
“We are around $150 -$200 down every day,” said Rocky Patel who was working the register. ‘Also, at $9 a pack, cigarette sales aren’t exactly robust.”
The United States sees about 480,000 tobacco related deaths each year. This is more than this country’s usual yearly numbers for alcohol, car, and suicide related deaths combined.
A loss of revenue is the price Everett businesses have had to pay for a regulation that has wide support in town and in the rest of the state otherwise.
“More than 80 percent of all adult smokers begin smoking before the age of 18, more than 90 percent do so before leaving their teens,” states the official regulations from The Everett Board of Health.
This means that cigarette addiction almost always begins during youth. With the age at 21 the Board of Health is hoping to stop people from becoming addicted while they are still young and impressionable.
This increase in sale age, along with an increased tax per box of cigarettes coming from the state house that raises prices have both shown to reduce the probability of teens buying tobacco products.
But despite these positive effects of the new law it is certainly trouble for local tobacco retailers.
According to information gathered by the Everett Board of Health, “raising the age of legal access to tobacco products to the age of 21 will likely reduce tobacco initiation, particularly among adolescents.”
Last month the Massachusetts House overwhelmingly approved a statewide bill that would raise the minimum age to 21 across all of Massachusetts in January.
Everett along with the other cities and towns that switched over early are among other states like Maine and California which also recently made the switch to 21.
This change has been supported by lawmakers and anti-tobacco organizations alike because it is potentially saving the lives of America’s youth.