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For the Prevention of Substance Use Among Youth in CT

Long-term brain changes. Physical & mental health risks. Susceptibility to addiction. Risk of social, academic, and legal problems. These are just a few of the reasons why 21 has been established as the legal minimum age for drinking alcohol, purchasing tobacco products, cannabis use, and casino gambling in Connecticut.

Did You Know?

Because the brain is the last organ to fully develop—continuing to grow until about age 25—adolescents process information and make decisions differently that adults do. For this reason, alcohol, tobacco, and gambling each pose a dual threat—children are especially likely to become addicted to them, and highly vulnerable to the harmful effects on their developing minds and bodies.


For children and teens, alcohol is never worth the risk.

The adolescent and teen years are a time of critical growth—and alcohol can have long-term, irreversible effects on the body and the brain. The minimum legal drinking age of 21 protects minors from both serious health impacts and misjudgments made while under the influence, which can put them in danger of car crashes, injuries, sexual assault, and more.

Vaping & Smoking

There is no such thing as “safe” tobacco use.

Smoking is bad for our health, and bad for society—and the younger a person first tries tobacco products, the greater the likelihood that they will become a regular or daily user. The minimum age of 21 for tobacco purchase protects youth from serious health risks and premature death, and helps to prevent them from ever becoming smokers.


The risks of getting high are far too steep for children & teens.

Despite its legalization for adult users, marijuana remains just as dangerous for adolescents and teens, whose brains are still developing. The minimum legal age of 21 protects them from both short- and long-term risks, including impaired memory, reduced cognitive abilities, mental health issues, and substance misuse problems.


The more you risk to win, the more you stand to lose.

For teens and adolescents, what begins as a friendly bet can quickly spiral into a gambling disorder or addiction. Connecticut’s minimum age of 21 for casino gambling aims to avoid these issues by increasing the age at which people begin gambling.

The 21 For a Reason Blog

Connecticut has established 21 as the legal minimum age for drinking alcohol, purchasing tobacco products, cannabis use, and casino gambling. The 21 for a Reason Blog provides information about the risks of these activities for underage youth and discusses why the minimum age is 21 for a Reason.

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