Massachusetts Raises Minimum Age to Buy Cigarettes From 18 to 21
Following Hawaii, Massachusetts is the second state to impose a raise in the minimum age required to buy cigarettes and other tobacco products.
Massachusetts senators voted overwhelmingly, 32-2, in favor of raising the minimum buying age of tobacco products to 21 from the standard 18.
The Bill S.2234, also known as an Act to protect youth from the health risk of tobacco and nicotine addiction, is already implemented in Boston and over 100 other cities in towns in the state, covering almost half of its population.
Under the new bill, establishments caught selling cigarettes and other tobacco products will face a fine ranging from $100 to $300. Pharmacies and other healthcare center are now also prohibited to sell any tobacco products.
Another amendment made by the senators in the bill is making possession and use of tobacco to be illegal in minors, or those who are below 18. If a minor was caught possessing or smoking tobacco products, the police are required to report the child to their parents, but there will be no criminal case charge against the child, neither will it appear in their criminal records.
In a report from Washington Post, Sen. Jason Lewis, a Winchester Democrat and principal author of the Massachusetts bill said, "Young people whose brains are still developing and haven't reached full maturity are particularly vulnerable to nicotine addiction."
The new bill faced oppositions from owners of small establishments. They claimed that the new bill will greatly affect the sales of small stores near borders with neighboring state that still have the standard buying age of 18.
The widespread use of tobacco products in teens are blamed to tobacco companies that continuously aim their product to young teens. By increasing the minimum buying age to 21, cigarettes and tobacco products will most likely to be removed from high school because teens do not socialize with people over 21 that often.