Milford, Conn. to Raise Legal Age to Buy Tobacco to 21 - NECN

Milford, Conn. to Raise Legal Age to Buy Tobacco to 21

According to the surgeon general, in 2018 one in five high school students reported using e-cigarettes within the past month.

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    Milford, Conn. to Raise Legal Age to Buy Tobacco to 21
    AP
    FILE - In this April 10, 2018, file photo, a high school principal displays vaping devices that were confiscated from students in such places as restrooms or hallways at the school in Massachusetts. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

    The City of Milford has moved to raise the legal age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21.

    There are currently six states – California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Oregon, Hawaii and Maine, that require customers to be 21 to purchase tobacco products.

    Advocates of the move say the higher purchase age will have public health benefits, including keeping tobacco out of the hands of young people. The new ordinance includes e-cigarettes and vaping products and goes into effect in Milford on April 19.

    In December the surgeon general called the use of e-cigarettes among young people an epidemic amid a reported 75 percent increase in high school student use from last year, and a 50 percent increase by middle schoolers.

    According to the surgeon general, in 2018 one in five high school students reported using e-cigarettes within the past month. E-cigarette use is more popular among high school students than adults. 

    Other Connecticut municipalities, including Bridgeport and Hartford, have already increased the age. But critics have voiced concerns about how such rules could hurt retailers, and how younger adults could simply go to another city or town to make their purchase.

    The issue has been raised to Connecticut lawmakers. One bill being considered this session would increase the minimum age to buy these products from 18 to 21, and bar the sale of flavored tobacco products. 

    There have also been proposals increasing penalties against those who sell products to underage purchasers, increasing taxes on vaping products and funding vape detectors for schools.