Lawmakers considering legislation to increase state-wide minimum age to buy tobacco

Massachusetts

State lawmakers are trying to decide whether to pass legislation to raise the state-wide legal age to buy tobacco to 21. 

The bill includes vaping products, like e-cigarettes. 

“I think it should be 18. If you’re 18 you can vote and serve your country, so you should be able to buy an e-cigarette, said Jimmy Guy of Turners Falls. 

The proposed legislation would also make it illegal to vape in the workplace. Greenfield and Montague are two of more than 50 Massachusetts communities where you need to be 21 and not 18 in order to buy an e-cigarette or another tobacco product. Some residents believe the tobacco-purchasing age should be 21 state-wide.

“It would be smarter to have it be 21. just because it is mostly a gateway, but you can at least do something to curb it a little bit,” said Peter Minigell of Andover, MA. 

Montague Public Health Director Gina McNeely told 22News some teens who start with e-cigarettes, do go on to smoke cigarettes. 

“There’s a small benefit to some people who want to quit smoking, but statistically a lot of people who use e-cigarettes continue to use tobacco,” said McNeely.

McNeely said most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is addictive. E-cigarettes are not FDA approved as a method to quit smoking. 

McNeely said the FDA is studying the possible health effects of second-hand emissions from e-cigarettes.

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