The minimum age to legally purchase tobacco products in Massachusetts would rise from 18 to 21 on December 31, under legislation approved by the House of Representatives.
House Passes Bill Raising Tobacco Purchasing Age To 21
BOSTON – The minimum age to legally purchase tobacco products in Massachusetts would rise from 18 to 21 on December 31, under legislation approved by the House of Representatives.
In addition to imposing new age restrictions for tobacco purchases, House Bill 4479, An Act to protect youth from the health risks of tobacco and nicotine addiction, would also ban tobacco sales at health care institutions and pharmacies while implementing new restrictions on e-cigarettes. State Representative Will Crocker, R-Barnstable, supported the bill, which passed the House on a vote of 146-4 on May 9.
Representative Crocker says the bill will help to reduce the health risks associated with tobacco use by teenagers and young adults by restricting sales to those who are 21 and older. The bill will also create a statewide standard for tobacco sales, as nearly half of all Massachusetts communities have already raised the purchasing age to 21.
“I believe the state has done a good job in educating children from the earliest point of comprehension through high school that tobacco is bad for you. This bill will help continue the effort to reinforce that education while keeping up to date with the latest trends in tobacco consumption.”
The bill also establishes a 15-member task force to study the vaping industry and to provide recommendations for educating students about the dangers of e-cigarettes and restricting the use of these devices in and around schools. The task force has a reporting deadline of January 1, 2019.
Although the House bill would take effect on December 31, it provides an exemption from the age restriction for anyone who turns 18 prior to the effective date.
The bill now heads to the Senate for further action.