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Tobacco Free Generation

The Tobacco-Free Generation policy initiative is a path toward eliminating the addiction, disease, and premature deaths caused by tobacco industry products.

Tobacco Free Generation is simple: No one born in or after a certain date, like the year 2000, can ever be sold tobacco products including cigarettes. Enforcement is simple because the date of birth for tobacco sales never changes.

Tobacco Free Generation is bold: Cigarettes continue to kill more than 400,000 Americans a year and cost more than $100 billion in health care spending. For the past ten years, adult smoking rates have slowly dropped from 20% to about 15%. Tobacco Free Generation provides a bold path forward that can cut the smoking rate dramatically and eventually stamp out cigarette smoking for good.

Tobacco Free Generation is legally viable: The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, signed into law by President Obama in 2009, affirms the authority of state and municipal governments to prohibit the sale of tobacco products to individuals of any age. This provides a policy opportunity for states, counties and cities to adopt Tobacco Free Generation policies. Historically, novel tobacco control measures have been taken at the local and state level.

Tobacco Free Generation is effective: Under Tobacco Free Generation legislation, the vast majority of future cigarette smokers — the oldest are now 19 (assuming 1/1/2000 as the sales cut-off birth date) — would never begin smoking. Young, would-be smokers are the least likely to travel to avoid tobacco control measures, and the policy gives retailers the opportunity to gradually replace tobacco sales with other products. Moreover, teenage smoking rates are currently at an all-time low, so there will be little incentive for them to try to evade the policy when they turn 18.

Tobacco Free Generation is innovative: Proposed by A. J. Berrick, a mathematics professor in Singapore, Tobacco Free Generation is designed to end the cycle of experimentation, addiction, disease and death by phasing out sales of tobacco products to youth born after a certain date. This elegant approach starts with today’s youth to provide a lifetime of protection from tobacco-related disease.

Tobacco Free Generation can work around the world:  There are ongoing efforts is several countries to phase out tobacco sales through Tobacco Free Generation.  Koong Heng Nung’s website,, describes these efforts.

Tobacco Free Generation Model Ordinance Language

WHEREAS the U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than 20 million Americans’ lives have been cut short due to tobacco-caused disease over the past 50 years;[1]

WHEREAS cigarettes and other tobacco products continue to kill more than 400,000 Americans a year and cost more than $100 billion in direct health care spending;[2]

WHEREAS people who never start using tobacco products will not become addicted;

WHEREAS there is no justification for allowing another generation to have easy access to a highly addictive and deadly product;

WHEREAS fifty years after the first Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health, cigarettes have become more addictive and dangerous, not less; [3]

WHEREAS cigarette smoking among high school students is at the lowest level in more than two decades; [4]

WHEREAS the next generation should be a Tobacco-Free Generation unencumbered by tobacco-caused addiction and disease;

WHEREAS the next generation has never been legally sold tobacco products and, by never starting such sales, nothing has been taken away; and

WHEREAS more than 50 years after the first U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health, enough is enough,[5]

THEREFORE, be it ordained by . . .____________, any holder of a tobacco sales license or permit issued under this chapter or article , or any employee or agent of same, is prohibited from selling, distributing, delivering, offering for sale, or giving away, or possessing with the intention of selling, distributing, delivering, offering for sale, or giving away tobacco products within the municipality to any individual that is under eighteen (18) [or “twenty-one (21)”] years of age or any individual that was born on or after January 1, 2000, whether said tobacco is sold, distributed or delivered in person or via vending machine.

[1] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.

[2] Id.

[3] Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Designed for Addiction: How Tobacco Companies Have Made Cigarettes More Addictive, More Attractive to Kids and More Deadly (June 23, 2014).

[4] U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance – United States, 2013.Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, June 13, 2014. Accessed at:

[5] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Remarks from Acting Surgeon General RADM Boris Lushniak at the Release of the 50th anniversary for the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health. January 17, 2014.  Accessed at:

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