Anchorage raises age to buy tobacco products to 21

Anchorage is raising the minimum age to 21 for residents to buy tobacco and nicotine products.

The Anchorage Assembly voted unanimously Tuesday night for a new measure that makes it illegal to sell cigarettes, electronic smoking devices and other similar products to anyone under 21 years old.

Anchorage is raising the minimum age to 21 for residents to buy tobacco and nicotine products.

Anchorage is raising the minimum age to 21 for residents to buy tobacco and nicotine products. (Creative Commons photo by Lindsay Fox at EcigaretteReviewed.com)

The move follows similar decisions by Sitka and hundreds of other communities across the country to raise the age for legally purchasing nicotine products.

Emily Nenon with the American Cancer Society said illness related to smoking is a major public health problem.

“There are a lot of problems we’re facing in this city, and some people may even say, ‘What’s this? What’s so important about this?’ This piece is about the fact that tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable death in Alaska,” Nenon said.

Nenon said a third of all cancer deaths are related to smoking.

The measure places fines on retailers who sell tobacco or nicotine products to anyone under 21. The new rule goes into effect in 30 days.

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