Bill to Raise Tobacco Buying Age to 21 Sent to Governor

The Massachusetts House and Senate reached agreement on minor difference between their bills that will raise the legal age for tobacco use to 21, and have sent the bill to Governor Baker.

The bill, which is an MHA legislative priority, will increase the age of sale for tobacco-related products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21 years, add e-cigarettes to the smoke-free workplace law, and prohibit the sale of tobacco products at healthcare facilities.

In its support of the bill MHA noted in communications to legislators that tobacco and nicotine use is the leading cause of preventable illness and premature death in Massachusetts. Tobacco consumption results in hundreds of millions of dollars in lost productivity due to illness and premature death, and increases healthcare costs to the state by $4 billion annually. Youth are particularly susceptible to nicotine addiction, MHA noted; according to the US Surgeon General, almost 95% of tobacco users become addicted to nicotine before age 21.