Massachusetts has joined the list of states who have raised the legal buying age for tobacco products from 18 to 21 years. This new law applies to traditional tobacco products like cigarettes and e-cigarette products as well. Massachusetts’ Gov. Charlie Baker signed the bill into law one July 27, 2018. The passing of this law makes Massachusetts the sixth state to raise the legal buying age of tobacco products to 21.
Baker, who is typically in favor of local governments making such decisions, felt raising the age to 21 was in line with 170 municipalities that had already raised the tobacco purchasing age above 18. The law does not go into effect until Dec. 31, 2018. One caveat with his new law is that anyone turning 18 before this date will still be allowed to buy tobacco products as long as there wasn’t a municipal ordinance already in place banning tobacco sales to 19 and/or 20-year-olds.
Massachusetts’s Tobacco 21 goes farther than some of its predecessors, regulating electronic cigarette use on school grounds and within nursing homes and also prohibiting the sale of vaping products in vending machines. It also requires that any tobacco or nicotine product must be packaged in childproof containers. Tobacco products will also not be allowed to be sold in healthcare facilities or within pharmacies.
Lawmakers and health advocates who were in favor of this bill see it as the right move in preventing minors from developing smoking habits and using tobacco products.
“Increasing the age of sale for tobacco products to 21 will help counter the tobacco industry’s relentless efforts to target youth at a time when many move from experimenting with tobacco to regular smoking,” said George Philippides, chief of cardiology at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, in a statement distributed by the American Heart Association.