Connecticut minimum age to buy tobacco increases

Connecticut recently signed a bill that is aimed at combating the underage use of tobacco related paraphernalia. The bill goes into effect October 1st.

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Connecticut recently signed a bill that is aimed at combating the underage use of tobacco related paraphernalia. The bill goes into effect October 1st.

Marina Engler '22, Staff Writer

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Connecticut residents must now be 21 or older to buy products containing tobacco effective Oct. 1. Healthcare officials and lawmakers alike concluded that the bill, passed in June 2019, is necessary to stop habitual smoking in teenagers.

“95 percent of smokers start their habit before reaching 21,” according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

The tobacco industry has not made positive headlines recently, as many teenagers are dying from lung related illness as a result of vaping.

Some students support this bill, seeing it as an advancement towards bettering teenage health. “I think that this is a step in the right direction, and that this is a law that needs to be enforced,” Quinn Mulvey ’23 said.

I think that this is a step in the right direction, and that this is a law that needs to be enforced”

— Quinn Mulvey ’23

The bill also increases the annual license fee for cigarette dealers from $50 to $200, requiring the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) commissioner to conduct unannounced compliance checks on e-cigarette dealers and takes many other precautionary measures to ensure no teenagers are exposed to tobacco.

Increasing the sales age for tobacco products may help counter the tobacco industry’s efforts to target teenagers, according to the American Lung Association. The ages between 18 and 21 is when teenagers are most vulnerable and many move from experimenting with tobacco to regular smoking (American Lung Association).

Eighteen states have already implemented such laws with Connecticut being one of the most recent.

However, many are not fazed by the new action, as they don’t smoke and don’t have friends who smoke.

“I didn’t experience any problems with [vaping], or friends who did it,” Lilly Murphy ’23 said, “so I think [Connecticut] did this because of what’s happening in other states.”

Raising the minimum age is just the start of Connecticut’s plan to combat underage tobacco addiction. Connecticut governor Ned Lamont plans to follow New York’s lead and eventually ban flavored e-cigarettes.

“Maybe if [kids] are under the age limit, and they already do smoke cigarettes that could be an issue for them,” Ava Lacosglio ’21 said, “although that is a pretty small percentage of people.

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