On Thursday, the Connecticut House of Representatives gave its nearly overwhelming support to a bill that would raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products and e-cigarettes from 18 to 21-years-old.
The bill, HB 7200, passed by a 124-22 vote and will now head to the Senate for that chamber’s consideration. It is one of several similar bills to have been introduced this session all seeking to raise the minimum purchasing age.
Also included in the bill is an increase for a tobacco dealer’s license, raising the annual amount from $50 to $200, while making modifications to the ways retailers would be punished for selling to an under age person. Fines for selling or giving tobacco products to a person under 21 would go up as well; the maximum for a first offense would go up from $200 to $300, while a second offense would jump from $300 to $750. A third violation would double from $500 to $1,000.
Anyone under age attempting to purchase tobacco or e-cigarettes would still face a maximum fine of $50.
If passed, the increase would go into effect on Oct. 1, 2019.
More than a dozen states have passed increases to the minimum age to purchase tobacco products, and several more are getting close. New York’s bill is awaiting a signature from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, while in Texas both chambers have passed legislation but need to resolve amendments before it can be sent to the governor. Minnesota is also facing pressure to pass an increase before its legislative session concludes in a few days.