Springfield approves “Tobacco 21” ordinance

The measure passed in a unanimous vote

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) –  Springfield City Councilors on Monday unanimously approved an ordinance to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products in the city to 21.

The aim is to keep kids from becoming addicted to tobacco at an early age.

Under current rules, young adults can buy tobacco at age 18 in Springfield.  Once the new law is in place, the minimum age will be 21, which will bring tobacco in line with alcohol and legal marijuana.

One aim is to keep nicotine products out of high schools, and to restrict access for young people during the years they’re most prone to getting addicted.

“It’ll keep down health care costs, and be a benefit to the lives of these people,” Springfield city councilor Kenneth Shea told 22News. “If we can keep young people from getting addicted to tobacco, as long as possible, that is a long-range health issue for them and for society.”

D.J. Wilson of Massachusetts Municipal Association said, “It’ll delay the start time for kids to start smoking, so hopefully they mature a little more. And also it’ll be easier to quit if they do start.”

Stores that violate the ordinance could be fined $100 for a first offense.

Springfield will join 165 other Massachusetts cities and towns that have already raised the minimum age to buy tobacco, including Holyoke, Northampton, Greenfield, Easthampton and Worcester.

The new law will be implemented by this summer.

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