Over 60 municipalities have raised the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21 in the state of Massachusetts, now there’s another attempt to pass a bill on the state level.
Last year, Sen. Cynthia S. Creem, D-Newton, introduced S.747, a bill that would change the age to purchase tobacco products statewide from 18 to 21. Last Thursday, that bill and other anti-tobacco related bills were swept up into a new piece of proposed legislation S.2152.
In total seven proposed bills are now part of the larger S.2152 legislation:
- S.732 — Would require child-resistant liquid nicotine packaging.
- S.1119 — A bill to “modernize” tobacco control.
- S.1137 — Restricts the sale of tobacco at health care institutions.
- H.1954 — Restricts the sale of tobacco at certain health care institution.s
- H.2021 — Defines e-cigarettes as a tobacco products, prohibits sale of tobacco products to those under 21.
- S.2050 — Prohibits the sale of nicotine vapor to minors.
- S.3456 — Prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.
Dennis W. Burke, the legislative director and general counsel to Sen. Jason Lewis, D-Winchester, told halfwheel that the seven aforementioned bills, along with S.747 and other overlapping bills, will not be advanced individually.
S.2152 establishes the penalty for selling or giving tobacco to person under 21 at $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second and $300 for any offense thereafter.
The efforts to raise the minimum purchasing age to 21 have been led by Dr. Lester Hartman and Dr. Jonathan Winickoff, two Massachusetts-based pediatricians. So far Hawaii is the only state with statewide laws restricting the sale of tobacco to those under 21.