HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s official: you now have to be 21 or older to buy tobacco in Holyoke.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Holyoke Board of Health announced it unanimously voted to raise the legal age to buy tobacco products to 21.
The Board of Health said it’s all to reduce nicotine addiction and prevent health risks among youth.
Changes to the regulations also include raising the legal age to buy electronic cigarettes and liquid nicotine products. The new rules also ban e-cigs from being smoked in public places, and parents can no longer buy the products and supply them to their children. That’s now a crime.
Some say these changes contradict the rights of adults. “If we’re 18 and we can go fight the war and stuff like that, then I think we should be old enough to smoke tobacco, or if not, switch it around,” said Jose Rodriguez of Holyoke.
“I don’t think it’s fair,” said Marta Rivera of Holyoke. “I think at 18 is pretty good; you’re considered an adult anyways. I think they’re just going to push kids to start smoking earlier. They’re just going to do it behind their backs. They’re still going to buy them anyways.”
The Tobacco Control program says 90-percent of smokers report having their first cigarette before 19 years old.