Montague Board working to prevent teen smoking

Proposal: Raise the minimum tobacco sales age to 21

MONTAGUE, Mass. (WWLP) – Montague lawmakers say it’s all about cutting down the smoking rate, but it’s the new proposal that’s the talk of the town. As of right now, if you’re 18-years-old, you can legally buy tobacco in Montague, but soon, that may all change.

Lawmakers are trying to raise the minimum tobacco sales age to 21 in an effort to cut teen smoking rates. Montague residents will be able to have their voices heard at a hearing at City Hall on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., on whether they’d support making tobacco harder to buy.

Some residents support the measure because of the proven dangers of tobacco use. Pat Allen said, “I think the health risks involved for people are pretty severe. The cost on the tax payers as well as individuals is high and I personally don’t see any long-term benefits from smoking.”

The Montague Board of Public Health told 22News they’re trying to prevent teens from using tobacco by delaying when they can legally buy it.

“It’s going to hurt. It’s going to hurt a little bit…” Bobbi Marguet runs Scotty’s Convenience Store and she said they don’t make much money off of tobacco, but she’s concerned the proposed law could drive away customers. “If they have to go somewhere else to get their cigarettes, they’re going to go somewhere else to get their milk and their eggs and bread,” said Marguet.

Lawmakers are expected to vote on this question in February of 2015. If you’d like to sound off and attend the hearing on Wednesday, it will be held at the Town Hall, 1 Avenue A, Turners Falls (Downstairs meeting room) on December 17th, 5:30 p.m.

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