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Tobacco

2 More States Raise Age to Buy Tobacco

Sixth state expected to join movement this year

SALEM, Ore., and AUGUSTA, Maine -- Two more states recently raised the legal age at which consumers can buy tobacco products from the federal standard of 18 to 21 years old, bringing the total to five states. A sixth state, Massachusetts, may be the next to enact such legislation, according to an anti-tobacco advocacy group.

On Aug. 8, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed legislation that will increase the minimum age to 21 starting Jan. 1, 2018. And on Aug. 2, lawmakers in Maine voted to override Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of a similar measure, allowing an age increase to take effect July 2018.

Laws raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21 have also been enacted in California, Hawaii and New Jersey, as well as at least 255 cities and counties, including New York, Chicago, Boston, Cleveland, St. Louis and both Kansas Cities.

Massachusetts lawmakers are considering similar legislation for the state, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Washington, D.C. A vote could come before the end of this year.

More than 150 cities and counties in Massachusetts have already adopted a legal age of 21 for purchasing tobacco, covering more than 60% of the state’s population.

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