Health Impacts of Tobacco

City of Milford Raises Tobacco Sales Age to Twenty-One (21)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that over 18.1% of adults, or 42.1 million people, are consistent smokers. Every day more than 3,200 underage smokers try smoking for the first time. Potentially even worse, estimates suggest that every day 2,100 youth and young adults who smoke occasionally become daily smokers.

Adverse health effects from tobacco usage are well documented. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, over ten times as many Americans have died prematurely from cigarette smoking than have died in all the wars fought in U.S. history. Smoking can cause many illnesses, including but not limited to those listed below, and can directly result in death from heart disease, cancers or strokes. 

  • Cancer (oropharynx, larynx, esophagus, trachea, bronchus, lung, acute myeloid leukemia, stomach, liver, pancreas, kidney and ureter, cervix, bladder, and colorectal)
  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Lung diseases (emphysema, bronchitis, chronic airway obstruction, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and pneumonia)
  • Reproductive effects (ectopic pregnancy, premature birth, low birth weight, stillbirth, reduced fertility in women, and erectile dysfunction; and birth defects, including clept-lip and/or cleft palate)
  • Other effects (Type 2 diabetes, age-related macular degeneration, rheumatoid arthritis, blindness, cataracts, hip fractures, impaired immune function, periodontitis, and overall diminished health)

E-Cigarettes and Youth

According to the U.S. Surgeon General (, e-cigarette use poses a significant – and preventable– health risk to young people in the United States. Besides increasing the possibility of addiction and long-term harm to brain development and respiratory health, e-cigarette use is associated with the use of other tobacco products that can do even more damage to the body. From a public health perspective, e-cigarettes are considered harmful as e-cigarettes can:

  • Increase the number of youth and young adults who are exposed to nicotine.
  • Lead non-smokers to start smoking conventional cigarettes and other burned tobacco products such as cigars and hookah.
  • Sustain nicotine addiction so smokers continue using the most dangerous tobacco products – those that are burned – as well as e-cigarettes, instead of quitting completely.
  • Increase the likelihood that former smokers will again become addicted to nicotine by using e-cigarettes, and will start using burned tobacco products again.

Raising the Tobacco Sales Age to Twenty-One (21)

Effective April 19, 2019, the City of Milford has amended the Tobacco Products ordinance (City of Milford Code of Ordinances Chapter 10, Article III, §10-22 through 10-28) through raising the minimum legal sales age for tobacco products to twenty-one (21) years of age. 

Through this amendment, Milford joins six states – California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Oregon, Hawaii and Maine – and at least 350 localities in enacting Tobacco 21 laws.  Raising the tobacco age to 21 will help counter the industry’s relentless efforts to target young people at a critical time when many move from experimenting with tobacco to regular smoking. In a 2015 report, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine predicted that raising the minimum legal sales age for tobacco products to twenty-one (21) nationwide will result in substantial public health benefits, such as reducing tobacco initiation among adolescents ages fifteen (15) to seventeen (17) by 25%. 

As such, effective April 19, 2019, All persons and retailers are to adhere to the provisions of the ordinance paying close attention to the following areas of the ordinance:

  • Minimum Legal Sales Age:  No person or retailer shall give, sell or otherwise distribute any Tobacco Product to any person under twenty-one (21) years of age.  Please refer to of the ordinance, Article III, Section 10-23 for the definition of “Tobacco Product.”
  • Signage:  Retailers shall post signage that states “The Sale of Tobacco or Nicotine Products or Devices to Persons under 21 is Prohibited” within thirty (30) days of the effective date of the ordinance.  

The Milford Police Department is authorized to enforce these provisions as of the effective date. 

Smoking Cessation.  Quitting smoking can be extremely challenging, but the benefits are immediate and profound; lung capacity increases, blood pressure drops and the odds of having a heart attack or stroke plunge within the first year. The American Cancer Society provides a timeline of health milestones individuals can look forward to once they’ve quit (click here). Almost 70% of current U.S. smokers want to quit, and these smokers are willing to put hard-earned cash on the table for smoking cessation aids that work.

When it comes to quitting smoking, success rates are subjective. They are determined on different levels depending on who is asked. Some measure success in terms of lowering usage, while others determine success based on how long someone goes without smoking. According to, four to seven percent of smokers quit completely without the use of cessation aids or other treatments. For more information on how to quit smoking, click here

To find a smoking cessation program near you, click here.

To read more on tobacco use cessation, click here.