Lung Association Calls for Higher Smoking Age in Delaware - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Lung Association Calls for Higher Smoking Age in Delaware

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(Photo: AP) (Photo: AP)

SALISBURY, Md. - The American Lung Association has handed out its report card on how states are doing when it comes to discouraging tobacco use.  Delaware may need to stay after class.

The criteria for grading looked like this:

   -  Prevention and cessation funding -  D

   -  Access to cessation services -  C

    -  Clean indoor air -  A

    -  Tobacco taxes -  F

     -  Smoking age (18)  -  F

With the exception of clean indoor air, all areas suggested plenty of room for improvement.  The ALA would like the state to start by raising the smoking age to 21 and by raising cigarette taxes.

Former Delaware governor Jack Markell suggested several tax hikes before leaving office, including an increase in the tobacco tax for $1.60/pack to $2.60/pack.  People WBOC spoke with Wednesday supported both ideas.

"I think that might have gotten me to stop smoking years ago because it's expensive," said Jim Savage of Salisbury.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 9 out of 10 cigarette smokers first tried smoking before age 18.  The CDC also reports each day in the United States, more than 3,200 young people aged 18 years or younger smoke their first cigarette, and an additional 2,100 youth and young adults become daily cigarette smokers

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