Understanding the Tobacco 21 Initiative and Implementation of Tobacco 21 Laws

1 Min Read

Sep 17, 2018


Hina B. Shah, M.P.H.,

Lawrence John Panas, Ph.D.


Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States; cigarette smoking causes about one in every five deaths in the U.S. per year. More than four in five (88.2 percent) adult smokers smoked their first cigarette before they turned age 18, and nearly 95 percent started before age 21. Data suggests that if someone is not a regular smoker by age 25, that person is highly unlikely to become one.

Tobacco 21 is a tobacco control initiative which prohibits retailers from selling tobacco products to anyone under age 21. It aims to delay or prevent tobacco use, and to reduce minors’ access to tobacco products by interrupting the supply available from high school peers age 18–20.

This report is intended to be an accessible and informative resource for persons interested in understanding the Tobacco 21 initiative and the implementation of Tobacco 21 laws in Kansas and the U.S.

Access this publication in the Documents & Downloads section.

About Kansas Health Institute

The Kansas Health Institute supports effective policymaking through nonpartisan research, education and engagement. KHI believes evidence-based information, objective analysis and civil dialogue enable policy leaders to be champions for a healthier Kansas. Established in 1995 with a multiyear grant from the Kansas Health Foundation, KHI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization based in Topeka.

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