Texas 21 coalition seeks to increase smoking age to prevent cancer

The Texas 21 coalition—a partnership among several healthcare organizations across Texas—is advocating to increase the smoking age from 18 to 21 across the state, according to a new report published in the Longview News-Journal. Raising the age, the coalition believes, will reduce the financial burdens of treating lung cancer, among other diseases.

The coalition includes high-impact organizations, including the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the American Lung Association.

Radiologist Bruce Carter, MD, of Tyler Radiology Associates, spoke at a Texas 21 coalition-sponsored luncheon about what he sees in practice and how ceasing smoking can prevent diseases such as lung cancer. Additionally, he said 95 percent of smoking starts prior to the age of 21.

“We have to stop the initiation of smoking,” he said, according to the report. “To prevent smoking, we need to raise awareness, initiate policy and prevent the use of tobacco.”

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