The New Hampshire Senate Commerce Committee voted to back bill SB 248 to raise the legal sales age for tobacco, including electronic cigarettes, to be 21 years old in New Hampshire. Dover, Newmarket, Keene, Franklin and most recently, Durham, have passed ordinances setting the sales age to 21.
The tobacco sales age was recently changed to 19 years old, a compromise that does not do enough to protect New Hampshire youth from Big Tobacco. Setting the tobacco sale age to 21 is an evidence-based strategy put forward by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine IOM) in 2015. According to their review, raising the legal age to 21 helps reduce young people’s access to tobacco when they are more likely to become addicted and when their brains are still developing. Because high school students normally graduate before the age of 21, raising the tobacco retail sales age would limit teens social sources for tobacco, essentially removing tobacco from high school circles.
E-cigarette use by NH youth has reached crisis proportions, 23.8% of high schoolers use e-cigarettes. Tobacco companies target young people under 21, subjecting our youth to negative brain development impacts, addiction and a wide range of adverse health effects, including cancer, lung disease, heart disease and stroke.
Please contact your senator to urge their support to pass SB 248 when it arrives on the Senate Floor in January and move this bill on to the House of Representatives. Make your voice heard and protect New Hampshire’s youth. Find your senator here: http://gencourt.state.nh.us/Senate/members/wml.aspx.