A Massachusetts bill that will raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21-years-old has gained the final approval of the legislature today and now heads to the desk of Gov. Charlie Baker, who while not formally saying he will sign it, has expressed his willingness to sign it into law.

The bill, which passed as H.4486, had been approved by the House of Representatives in mid-May and by the Senate in late June, but a handful of amendments left the two versions different from each other and thus required the two chambers to craft a compromise version, which they have been working on for the past several weeks.

The approval of the bill would bring a statewide blanket to what has become a patchwork approach to raising the tobacco age, as more than 170 cities, towns and counties have already approved increases on their own.

In addition to the age increase, the bill bans pharmacies from selling tobacco products, the first such statewide ban to be enacted, as well as adding e-cigarettes to the state’s smoke-free law. It also adds restrictions on the use of tobacco products and e-cigaretts on school grounds and facilities, nursing homes and similar care facilities,

Should the governor sign the bill, Massachusetts will join Hawaii, California, Oregon, New Jersey and Maine to have enacted such an increase, and it’s a group that could soon get a seventh member as Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has a bill on his desk that will raise the tobacco purchasing age to 21 should he sign it.

Featured image by Daderot, via Creative Commons.

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.