By Bob Katzen

House 146-3, Senate 32-3, 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 healthcare facilities from selling any tobacco or vape products.

“Increasing the tobacco age to 21 will reduce tobacco use among youth and young adults – age groups when nearly all tobacco use begins and that are heavily targeted by the tobacco industry,” said Matthew Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “We know that about 95 percent of adult smokers began smoking before they turned 21. We also know that tobacco companies spend $9.5 billion a year – more than $1 million every hour – to market their deadly and addictive products, much of it aimed at young people.”

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.

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