Health Commissioner: Cities & towns key to reducing youth tobacco use

Bill would raise age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said more needs to be done to stop young people from using tobacco. However, Bharel stopped short of endorsing a bill that calls for raising the age to purchase tobacco purchasing from 18 to 21.

Bharel said cities and towns that are raising the legal age to 21 are key to reducing youth tobacco use. More than 80 Massachusetts towns, including Amherst, South Hadley and Montague, have raised the age.

Nikki Roberson of Chicopee said, “I think that the whole idea of being able to go across seas and fighting and dying, but a cigarette which is a personal choice at the age of 18; I think people should have the choice to do whatever they feel like.”

The bill wouldn’t punish minors for using tobacco, but would target merchants who illegally sell cigarettes, e-cigs, and other tobacco products to people under 21.

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