Maine Gov. Paul LePage has vetoed a bill that would raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21-years-old, a step which prevents Maine from becoming the fourth state to make such an increase.
The governor made the announcement on WVOM-FM on Tuesday morning, saying that if a person is old enough to go to a war, they are old enough to purchase tobacco.
“I’m tired of living in a society where we social engineer our lives,” LePage said, adding that he believes than an 18-year-old is capable of making the decision about whether or not to use tobacco.
The bill now heads back to the legislature next week where the governor’s veto could be overridden as both chambers passed it by more than the two-thirds margin needed for an override. The House voted 113-34 in favor of the bill, while the Senate approved it by a 31-4 vote.
New Jersey recently approved an increase in the age to purchase tobacco to 21-years-old, joining Hawaii and California. Oregon could now become the fourth state to pass an increase, as the state’s legislature has passed a bill that is now awaiting the signature of Gov. Kate Brown, who has previously indicated her support for it.