Nationwide push to raise legal age for buying tobacco

In the past 50 years, 21 million people died in the United States from tobacco-related illnesses

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Massachusetts senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey are sponsoring a bill to raise the legal tobacco buying age to 21 nationwide.

It’s called the “Tobacco to 21 Act” and 11 U.S. senators are sponsoring the bill. “I think I’d support the legal age of tobacco to go up to 21 because I think it’s not a very good product to begin with,” said Josh Hutchins of Charlemont. The town of Greenfield raised the legal tobacco buying age back in July with the hopes of cutting teen smoking.

Han Smith is smoker, but he told 22News, he’d support a federal bill making it harder for people under 21 to get their hands on cigarettes. “Teens, today, shouldn’t be smoking anyway. You know, it’s bad for their health,” said Hans Smith, Brattleboro, VT.

In the last 50 years, 21 million people died in the United States from tobacco-related illnesses, making it the leading cause of death in the country. Some people told 22News, people who want to smoke will find a way. “They will get it anyway, no matter what their age is, especially if their parents or friends smoke,” said Tammy Deweever of Fort Lauderdale, FL.

A recent report by the Institute of Medicine found that raising the legal age of sale of tobacco products to 21 nationwide would reduce the number of new tobacco users. Raising the minimum age to buy tobacco has been trending across the country. Hawaii was the first state to raise the age minimum and more than 70 towns in Massachusetts have done it as well.

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