Three out of 4 American adults favor making 21 the minimum age of sale for tobacco products

Press Release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Three out of 4 American adults—including 7 in 10 cigarette smokers—favor raising the minimum age of sale for all tobacco products to 21, according to anCDC Tobacco Survey article by CDC published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.  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 percent of adults strongly opposed making 21 the legal age of sale, while 14 percent somewhat opposed such measures.

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, Massachusetts, in 2005. New York City; Hawaii County, Hawaii; Evanston, Illinois; Englewood, New Jersey; Columbia, Missouri; and several other communities in Massachusetts later followed suit.

“Raising the minimum age of sale to 21 could benefit the health of Americans in several ways,” said Brian King, Ph.D., acting Deputy Director for Research Translation in CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “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.”

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 2013and polls of voters in Colorado and Utah that found 57 percent and 67 percent, respectively, favor such policies. Favorability for the policies was found to increase with increasing age.

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 percent of adult smokers first try cigarettes by the age of 21.

Age-of-sale restrictions have been shown to contribute to reductions in tobacco use and dependency among youth. In March 2015, an Institute of Medicine (IOM) 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 percent 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.


Free Stop Smoking Classes in June

The Chatham County Public Health Department is offering free tobacco qsmart_red2smcessation classes for the second time this year, this time in June in Siler City, to both county residents and county employees. Don’t miss this opportunity to receive personal instruction from experienced staff and get your summer off to a healthy start.

Previous classes held in Pittsboro this year were a big success in helping several individuals kick the habit for good. Participants will receive a free QuitSmart Stop Smoking Kit and support from fellow program attendees during the three sessions. Sessions will be held on Monday and Wednesdays after work, from 5:30-6:45 pm.

Want to learn more? Join us for an information session on Wednesday, June 3rd, at 5:30 pm at the Chatham Hospital, in the Chatham Medical Park Office Building, Suite #140 located on the first floor. Space is limited. Please contact Jennifer Park by email at to register in advance.


Quit Smoking Today!

Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of death and disability in N.C. and the U.S. Menthol cigarettes are aggressively promoted in African American communities and are often the first cigarettes used by teens.

The National African American Tobacco Prevention Network (NAATPN), which is based in Durham, N.C.,  is joined by the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council, faith-based institutions, and other partners to promote World No Tobacco Day (May 31) as No Menthol Sunday.

In conjunction with World No Tobacco Day and No Menthol Sunday, QuitlineNC (1-800-QuitNow or 1-800-784-8669) will offer eight weeks of free nicotine patches to those who call May 20-31, while supplies last.

QuitlineNC is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help all tobacco users who want to quit. They are not judgmental – they meet you where you are and help you make a plan for quitting tobacco that works for you!  Getting help to quit tobacco can double or triple someone’s chances of quitting successfully. Coaching from QuitlineNC and medication, such as nicotine patches, is a successful combination.

You can use the flyer to the right to promote QuitlineNRTFlyer2015World No Tobacco Week and Free Nicotine Patches.

NAATPN has also created a downloadable No Menthol Sunday Toolkit to allow any communities of faith – particularly in African American communities, to focus on the addictiveness and deadliness of mentholated tobacco products on that Sunday. Learn more by downloading your toolkit here. You will receive a confirmation email with a link to the toolkit.


It’s National Women’s Health Week!

Dear women of Chatham County,RR1 2014

It’s time we celebrate our health. While here at the Chatham County Public Health Department (CCPHD) we think about health every day, national observances are a great way to focus on specific health topics. This week, May 10th-May 16th, is National Women’s Health Week.

So, women of Chatham County, all 35,585 of you (yes, women account for over half of the over 68,000 people living in Chatham County)*, let’s talk about what we need to do to keep ourselves healthy.

  1. Schedule a well-woman visit with your doctor or nurse. A well-women visit is exactly that. It’s a visit to your provider to discuss your overall health and wellness. A well-woman visit is your opportunity to talk with your provider about your overall health, family history, and any health concerns you might have. Do you want to quit smoking? Lose weight? Have a family history of high blood pressure? Diabetes? They’ll help you determine the best plan of action. They’ll also help you identify any tests or screenings you might need (see #2 below). Your well-women exam is considered a preventative service under the Affordable Care Act, meaning it helps to prevent future health problems and is covered by most health plans at no cost. So this week, if you haven’t had your well-women visit this year, call your provider and schedule it. If you do not have a provider, are uninsured or have Medicare or Medicaid, CCPHD can help. We provide preventative health services, including physicals. Fees charged for most services are based on a sliding scale according to income guidelines and/or insurance coverage (private, Medicare and Medicaid). Most insurances are accepted. For more information on the services provided by CCPHD, visit our Clinical Services page. To set up an appointment, call the clinic at 919-742-5641.
  2. Learn which steps and screenings you need and at what age. The measures you need to take to stay healthy change as you age. Make sure you’re staying up-to-date on your needed screenings! Take a moment and learn about the screenings recommended for you on the National Women’s Health Week “Steps for Better Health by Age”, where they have broken down needed screenings by age. Use this list as a conversation starter at your next well-woman exam.
  3. Review the many preventive services for women covered under the Affordable Care Act. Just like your well-woman visit is covered as a preventative service under the Affordable Care Act, there are other preventative services, such contraception, breastfeeding support and counseling, osteoporosis screening, and more that are covered. Be an advocate for your health and find out what services are covered on the website.
  4. Spread the word. So, women of Chatham County, this is the part where we raise our 35,585 collective voices. Make your appointment, get informed on screenings and preventative health coverage, and then share what you know with others. Send a link to this article. Talk to someone about the importance of well-women checks and preventative healthcare. Encourage someone to make a well-women appointment. Let’s not just make sure we’re our healthiest selves, but all 35,585 of us, our mothers, daughters, sisters, coworkers and friends, are their healthiest selves too.

PS Men of Chatham (the 33,243 of you) just because it’s National Women’s Health Week doesn’t leave you out. Think of all the women in your life. You can be an advocate too. Talk to the women in your life about the importance of preventative care, and schedule your own check-up.

* US Census Quick Facts:


May is Mental Health Awareness Month

This month we celebrate the importance of raising awareness around mental health issues and services. This is especially timely for Chatham County, as mental_health2access to mental health services was named a health priority in last year’s Community Health Assessment. Delving into the numbers, it is easy to see why this issue is so important. In the 2014 Youth Health Behavior Survey, 7.6% of high school students and 5.9% of middle school students said they had attempted suicide in the past year. 12.6% of students said they had seriously considered suicide in that period. In a 2013 survey, 43% of students grades three through ten said they had been bullied at school.

Accessing mental health services can be a huge challenge. In addition to the stigma around mental health issues that could keep someone from seeking necessary treatment, many don’t know where to go for help. Of the adults we surveyed for last year’s assessment, 63% did not know where to refer someone for mental health services. As you can see, mental health is a major issue in Chatham County, and we are working collaboratively to address it.

We hope that you will join us in celebrating Mental Health Awareness Month. There are many things that you can do to help. First, look out for those around you. If you or someone you know could benefit from talking with someone, reach out for help. Cardinal Innovations offers a range of services, including a crisis hotline. Learn more about the issue. Finally, the National Alliance on Mental Illness has additional ideas of ways you can get involved.

We can all benefit from addressing mental health issues. Together, we can take a stand for better mental health.