Underage tobacco and nicotine sales have been on the rise in Wisconsin, but now health officials say sales have increased from 11.9% in 2022 to 13.6% in 2023.
That's according to a new report from the Wisconsin Department of Health and Services. DHS is now monitoring the sales of tobacco and nicotine to those under the age of 21, following the change in federal law raising the legal age from 18 to 21.
DHS Secretary-designee Kristen Johnson said, "We know that nearly all people who use commercial tobacco and nicotine start using in their teens and young adulthood. In fact, if a person doesn’t start by age 25, they almost never will. This data shows that we must continue the work to prevent young people from starting to use commercial tobacco and nicotine products."
As an effort to save lives and reinforce the law change, DHS launched a public awareness campaign. The campaign is not only a way to save young lives but also to protect Wisconsin's funding for prevention programs and services.
If underage sales exceed 20 percent, Wisconsin could lose millions in federal funding resources, according to a news release.