ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- In a show of support for a Maryland House bill to raise the legal age for buying tobacco products, a number of students and health-group representatives visited state lawmakers on Feb. 28.
House Bill 953 proposes to increase the legal buying age for tobacco products from 18 to 21, and it has strong support from a number of health groups such as the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society, according to WBAL-TV Channel 11 in Baltimore. It's hoped that by raising the buying age, it will help cut down on what proponents call a major part of the smoking market: middle school and high school students.
Students told lawmakers what it’s like in school when it comes to tobacco products: While cigarettes are a problem, vaping has become very popular. “People will excuse themselves from class in school to go to the bathroom and vape. In other cases, people don’t even try to hide it and vape walking between classes,” said Noah Rich, a freshman at Towson High School, Towson, Md., according to the report.
Opponents of the bill said it should be a person’s right to figure out whether they should smoke or not and that when a person turns 18, they can make their own decisions.
Five states and more than 250 cities and counties across the country have already enacted similar legislation. Future hearings are being planned for the bill.