Massachusetts Senate has approved to raise the minimum age for buying cigarettes and other tobacco products on April 28.
The bill, if approved, will raise the buying age of tobacco across Massachusetts from 18 to 21 years old, making it the second state to do so.
The approval came after a whopping 32-2 vote result, moving it to the House.
The bill will include banning sales of tobacco products in pharmacy outlets and other health facilities. Those who will be caught doing so will have to pay fines that range from $100 to $300.
The Senate-approved bill also entails new protocols for e-cigarettes such as prohibiting vaping in places where smoking is also banned.
The senators also added that all people aged 18 years old and below are prohibited from smoking or possessing tobacco products. Police are also necessitated to inform these teens' parents if caught. Aside from that, no other sanctions or criminal record charges would be made.
What People Have To Say
"Young people whose brains are still developing and haven't reached full maturity are particularly vulnerable to nicotine addiction," says Sen. Jason Lewis, who is also the principal author of the bill.
Marketing strategies for tobacco products have targeted the youth and have conveyed that most smokers started when they were teens, raising curiosity and courage to smoke at a young age. Raising the minimum age for purchasing tobacco will help eliminate the presence of the products in schools.
Despite more senators approving the bill, it cannot be ignored that some voted against it. One is Senator Donald Humason, who says that he has not tried smoking ever. He hopes that no one will develop the practice, but as a member of the Senate and as an individual, he says he will not try to tell a law-abiding citizen what to do.
Group members that were not pleased with the approval are business owners. The Retailers Association of Massachusetts president Jon Hurst says it would put down many business owners, particularly small retailers.
Hurst says Massachusetts is not Hawaii, which is a small island that first raised the age of tobacco use in the country. Clearly, there will be parties who are going to be affected by the approval.