HEALTH

CDC: 3-in-4 Americans favor higher tobacco sale age

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — Three out of four American adults — including seven in 10 cigarette smokers — favor raising the minimum age of sale for all tobacco products to 21, according to an article by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.  
 
“Raising the minimum age of sale to 21 could benefit the health of Americans in several ways,” Brian King, acting Deputy Director for Research Translation in CDC's Office on Smoking and Health, said. “It could delay the age of first experimenting with tobacco, reducing the likelihood of transitioning to regular use and increasing the likelihood that those who do become regular users can quit.”
 
Age-of-sale restrictions have been shown to contribute to reductions in tobacco use and dependence among youth. In March 2015, an Institute of Medicine report found that increasing the legal age of sale for tobacco will likely prevent or delay tobacco use initiation by adolescents and young adults. The IOM found that if all states were to raise the minimum age of sale for all tobacco products to 21, there would be a 12% decrease in cigarette smoking prevalence across the nation by 2100. This would translate into nearly 250,000 fewer premature deaths from cigarette smoking among people born between 2000 and 2019.
 
In most states, the minimum age of sale for tobacco is 18; in Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey and Utah the minimum age of sale is 19. One state — Hawaii — currently prohibits sales of tobacco products to youth under the age of 21. Additionally, several cities and counties across the U.S. have adopted laws raising the minimum age to 21, starting with Needham, Mass. in 2005. New York City; Hawaii County, Hawaii; Evanston, Ill.; Englewood, N.J.; Columbia, Mo.; and several other communities in Massachusetts later followed suit.
 
Data for the study came from Styles, a nationally representative online survey of U.S. adults aged 18 and older. The findings are consistent with those from a national survey conducted in 2013 and polls of voters in Colorado and Utah that found 57% and 67%, respectively, favor such policies. Favorability for the policies was found to increase with increasing age.
 
While an overwhelming majority of adults favored the policy overall, favorability is slightly higher among adults who never smoked and older adults. In contrast, 11% of adults strongly opposed making 21 the legal age of sale, while 14% somewhat opposed such measures.
 
According to the 2014 Surgeon General Report, the tobacco industry aggressively markets and promotes its products and continues to recruit youth and young adults as new consumers. People who begin smoking at a young age are more likely to become addicted, to progress to daily use, to smoke more as they grow into adulthood and to have trouble quitting. A previous Surgeon General Report found about 96% of adult smokers first try cigarettes by the age of 21.
 
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Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals picks up four Innovative sports nutrition brands

BY Michael Johnsen

NORCROSS, Ga. – Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals on Tuesday acquired Innovative's brand of diet aids. 
 
"The acquisition of the Innovative brand of diet and energy aids accelerates Hi-Tech's sports nutrition and weight loss growth strategy, substantially boosts our weight loss portfolio and diversifies our business stream," stated Jared Wheat, Hi-Tech chairman, president and CEO. "We believe this strategic transaction will enhance our industry-leading weight loss and sports nutrition position by expanding market opportunities. Innovative has strong distribution to enhance our position with sports nutrition distributors and retail outlets," he said. 
 
Innovative produces Black Mamba Hyperrush, Diablos ECA Fire Caps, Diablos Hyperburn and Hell Fire.
 
Just the sports nutrition category, which includes powdered and ready-to-drink, grew by 13% in 2013, Hi-Tech reported, in what the company defines as a $30 billion category. The largest portion of the sales in that market comes from sports and energy drinks and shots, which make up 56% of sales ($17.1 billion). The second largest category is sports nutrition supplements at 15% ($4.5 billion), followed closely weight-loss meal replacement supplements at 11% ($3.3 billion) and Weight-loss pill-form supplements at 6% ($2 billion).
 
"The acquisition of Innovative expands our offerings of mainstream, weight loss and sports nutrition products, including protein-rich foods, and broadens our appeal with younger consumers," commented Steve Smith, Hi-Tech EVP. 
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Cardinal Health closes Harvard Drug Group deal

BY Michael Johnsen

DUBLIN, Ohio – Cardinal Health on Monday closed its $1.1 billion acquisition of The Harvard Drug Group, a distributor of generic pharmaceuticals and OTC medications.
 
In addition to enhancing the company's generic pharmaceutical distribution business, the acquisition expands Cardinal Health's existing telesales programs and capabilities; broadens the company's portfolio of over-the counter products; and brings specialized packaging offerings to meet the needs of hospital systems and other institutions.  
 
The Harvard Drug Group had revenues of approximately $450 million in 2014. 
 
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