A bill that would make Massachusetts the sixth state where 21-years-old is the minimum age to purchase tobacco products and e-cigarettes has gotten the approval of the state House of Representatives.
The bill, H.4479, was approved by a 147-4 vote on Wednesday and now heads to the state Senate for further deliberation. In 2016, the Senate approved a similar bill, though it never received a vote by the House during that legislative session.
The bill also includes a ban on vaping on school grounds and in other public places, as well as a ban on the sale of tobacco products at pharmacies or health care facilities.
Should it pass the Senate and get the signature of Gov. Charlie Brown, who has already indicated he is generally supportive of the increase, it would go into effect on Dec. 31, 2018. However, a provision included in the bill would grandfather individuals who have turned 18 prior to that date, meaning they could purchase tobacco products even though they aren’t yet 21. However, they would still be subject to any additional restrictions passed at the local level, meaning that if a city requires a person to be at least 21 to purchase tobacco products, they would not be allowed to complete the transaction. More than 170 municipalities in the state have already passed such an increase, though the bill in the state legislature would prevent further increases from being enacted.