ASCO Supports the Tobacco-Free Youth Act

Statement from American Society of Clinical Oncology President Monica M. Bertagnolli, MD, FACS, FASCO
For immediate release
May 21, 2019


Kate Crawford

“ASCO strongly supports this strong, bipartisan bill that would raise the federal age for purchasing tobacco products, electronic cigarettes, and alternative nicotine products from 18 to 21 nationwide. This legislation represents an important federal policy change needed to address the ongoing public health epidemic from tobacco use in the United States.

“While we have seen a decline in cigarette use, the rate of reduction has slowed, and the use of other tobacco products is on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5.6 million of today’s American youth will die early from a tobacco-related disease if smoking continues at the current rate.

“Raising the age to purchase tobacco products to 21 has proven successful in curbing this crisis. After Needham, Massachusetts, enacted the nation’s first Tobacco 21 law in 2015, smoking rates decreased by 47% —a rate three times higher than in towns surrounding Needham.  Additionally, the year after Chicago implemented a Tobacco 21 law, the city saw a 36% decrease in 18-20-year-olds who reported currently smoking cigarettes.

“ASCO commends Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Tim Kaine for introducing this critical legislation. We urge the Senate to pass it as soon as possible.”

Read the full letter.

About ASCO: 

Founded in 1964, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) is committed to making a world of difference in cancer care. As the world’s leading organization of its kind, ASCO represents nearly 45,000 oncology professionals who care for people living with cancer. Through research, education, and promotion of the highest-quality patient care, ASCO works to conquer cancer and create a world where cancer is prevented or cured, and every survivor is healthy. ASCO is supported by its affiliate organization, the Conquer Cancer Foundation. Learn more at, explore patient education resources at www.Cancer.Net, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.