On Tuesday, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signed HB 7200 into law, a bill that will raise the state’s minimum age to purchase tobacco products, e-cigarettes and vaping products to 21-years-old.
The bill received the overwhelming support of the legislature on its way to the governor, as the Senate voted 33-3 in favor of the increase and the bill was approved in the House of Representatives in mid-May by a 124-22 vote. Once it passed, Lamont issued a statement praising the legislature for sending it to his desk.
“When our laws surrounding tobacco products were written several decades ago, the medical evidence about the impact of the substance did not exist,” the governor wrote. “With the rising use of e-cigarettes and vaping products among young people, we are seeing a growing public health crisis. Some have pointed out that raising the age to 21 will result in a net revenue loss to the state, but when it comes to the health of our young people we need to do what is right. I applaud the bipartisan members from each chamber of our state legislature for voting to raise the age. When I sign this into law, we will have taken an important step forward in protecting the health of the youngest members of our communities.”
In addition to the age increase, the bill also raises the amount for a tobacco dealer’s license, increasing the annual fee from $50 to $200, while making modifications to the ways retailers will be punished for selling to an under age person. Fines for selling or giving tobacco products to a person under 21 will be going up as well, as the maximum for a first offense climbs from $200 to $300, while a second offense would jump from $300 to $750. A third violation would double from $500 to $1,000.
Persons under 21-years-old who attempt to purchase tobacco or e-cigarettes would still face a maximum fine of $50.
The increase will go into effect on Oct. 1, 2019