Today, underage use of conventional tobacco products is at the lowest levels in a generation. In fact, the latest Monitoring the Future study estimates youth smoking rates to be 3.7 percent in 2019, an 87 percent reduction from its 1997 peak. Retailer compliance rates with legal age of purchase laws have risen over the past 20+ years and, today, the compliance rates hover around 90 percent. And FDA regulation covers nearly every aspect of how tobacco products are manufactured, marketed and sold.
However, youth use of e-vapor continued to rise in 2019, and this trend threatens to undermine the hard-fought gains made in preventing underage use of conventional tobacco products. Tobacco manufacturers, regulators and policy-makers must act collaboratively and with urgency to do more to reverse this trend.
Altria is committed to being part of the solution. In addition to our long-standing efforts, we supported legislation to raise the minimum age for all tobacco products to 21. We believe this is the most effective step available to reverse rising underage e-vapor rates.