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Maximizing the Impact of Tobacco 21 Laws Across the United States
Tobacco 21, the prohibition of retailers from selling cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, powdered tobacco, electronic cigarettes, and
other tobacco products to customers younger than 21 years, has become an increasingly popular tobacco-control strategy.1 As of
early 2018, Tobacco 21 laws exist in almost 300 separate locations across 19 different states and cover more than 25% of the US population. In this issue of AJPH,
Macinko et al. (p. 669) found that adolescent tobacco use declined slightly in NewYorkCity after the city raised the minimum legal sales age to 21 years. Although New York City already had relatively low rates of tobacco use for adolescents, rates continued to decline during the 18 months after implementation of the new law. Macinko et al. also found that across New York
State and in four comparator cities in Florida, rates of adolescent tobacco use fell at a steeper rate than that seen in New York City. Put another
way, those comparator locations tended to catch up to New York City in terms of adolescent tobacco use during the short study period.