The minimum age to purchase tobacco products in Massachusetts is going up today, though it’s not as straightforward of an increase as you might think.
Instead of just making 21 the new minimum age to purchase tobacco and tobacco alternatives, the bill that was signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker in late July provides a grandfather clause for persons who have reached the age of 18 before Dec. 30, 2018 to keep purchasing tobacco. However, those individuals will still be subject to any city or county law that governs the age to purchase tobacco products, as long as it was in effect on that day.
To try and simplify the execution of the law, particularly at a retail level, a number of Massachusetts cities have been passing their own local increases that went into effect yesterday, including Swansea, Fall River and Hingham.
In addition to the age increase, two other tobacco-related changes go into effect today, as e-cigarettes have been added to existing smoking bans, the use of tobacco products is now prohibited on school grounds, and there is now a ban on the sale of tobacco by any pharmacy, hospital, or other entity that offers health care services or that employs any licensed health care providers.