Springfield considers raising the age to buy tobacco products

MassDPH: 85% of adult smokers started when they were teens

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield could soon be making it harder for teens to get tobacco products. Raising the age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21 was on Wednesday night’s Public Health Council agenda.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 85% of adult smokers in the state smoked their first cigarette while they were teenagers. Health advocacy groups have pushed for raising the tobacco purchase age as a way to reduce the number of adult smokers.

However, some Springfield residents weren’t sure it could work. “Kids nowadays are going to find a way. If you’re going to tell them no, you can’t have this, they’re going to find a way to get a cigarette or whatever tobacco product. I don’t think it’s going to change,” said Jackie Rivera of Springfield.

According to a study by the Institute of Medicine, raising the sale age to 21 could reduce adult smoking rates by 12%. A number of cities and towns in Massachusetts have already passed ordinances to raise the purchase age to 21, and the state legislature is considering bills to raise the purchase age statewide.

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