By Bob Katzen

The Senate 33-3, approved a bill raising from 18 to 21 the age to legally purchase cigarettes and electronic cigarettes in the Bay State. Other provisions ban e-cigarettes and other vape devices from the workplace and prohibit pharmacies and health care facilities from selling any tobacco or vape products.

“Kids and tobacco just don’t mix,” said Marc Hymovitz, Massachusetts director of government relations for the American Cancer Society. “Research shows that if a person does not begin smoking at a young age, they are much less likely to ever smoke. In fact, 95 percent of adults who smoke started smoking before the age of 21 and nearly all of them started by age 26.”

Sen. Don Humason (R-Westfield) said he opposes the bill because it takes away personal freedom and individual responsibility. He revealed that he has never smoked cigarettes or marijuana or vaped. He said he doesn’t think people should do any of those three things but that he has a hard time when the government tries to tell adults what they can and cannot do. He said the government should provide information to help people make a decision on these matters.

“Massachusetts is poised to be the 6th state in the nation to enact legislation to raise the age of sale of tobacco products to 21,” said Jeff Seyler, Chief Division Officer of the American Lung Association. “This bill will not only protect our young people from beginning a dangerous addiction to tobacco, but it includes safeguards for public health by restricting the use of e-cigarettes and the public’s exposure to e-cigarette emissions.”

The House has approved a different version of the bill and the Senate bill now goes to House for consideration.

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