The CRAN Blog

Authors: Kristen Mangold, MSW, Tobacco Control and Research Branch, Behavioral Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, NCI; and Ralph Hingson, ScD, MPH, Director, Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research, NIAAA

During the Vietnam War, when the voting age nationwide was lowered to age 18, twenty-nine states also lowered the minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) to 18, 19, or 20. Following this change, those states saw sharp increases in traffic fatalities among 18- to 20-year-old drivers, and many states responded by raising their drinking age to 21. But young people could still often travel across borders to drink in neighboring states where lower MLDAs remained in effect. Based on data from the Department of Transportation, organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Parent-Teacher


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Doug Tipperman, Tobacco Policy Liaison, Office of Policy, Planning, and Innovation, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Cigarette smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States, responsible for over 480,000 deaths a year. Even though smoking has been decreasing overall, the smoking rate for persons with behavioral health conditions (mental and/or substance use disorders) is about twice that of the rest of the population. The rate is even higher for persons with serious mental illness or who have been in substance use disorder treatment in the past year.

As Some States Implement New Marijuana Laws, Science Should Guide Public Health Policy

After the election on November 8, marijuana is now or will soon be legal for adult recreational use in eight states plus the District of Columbia. These states, and those that may join them in the future, will have choices to make in how they enact and implement their policies. Careful thought should be given to creating regulatory frameworks that prioritize public health. Science needs to be the guide.


We have long expected to see increasing substance use in middle and later life with the aging of baby boomers—a demographic that traditionally had a more relaxed attitude to substance use.  A recent study funded by the National Institute on Aging reveals the unexpected enormity of the problem and its disastrous consequences for a generation of Americans.