Another state success!
Last week, the legislature of Maine upheld their vote to increase the tobacco sales age to 21. The legislature carried on their longest law-making session of 9 months, overriding Governor LePage’s veto in the process.
The override system in Maine requires a 2/3rd’s majority to beat a veto. Overall, the vote was 29-5 in the Senate and 90-44 in the House. Many thanks to advocates and lawmakers in Maine who made this law a reality.
The law will go into effect on July 1, 2018. However, current 18 year olds at that time will retain the ability to have cigarettes sold to them. This is otherwise known as a “grandfathering” clause. Although it is not an ideal implementation style, this law is most certainly a step in the right direction.
Additionally, the law passed includes a strike of all Minor In Possession or Possession Use and Purchase (MIP/PUP) language in state code. Eliminating MIP/PUP language concentrates enforcement and compliance activities on the source of tobacco rather than the youth purchasing. This is an enforcement method that has seen success with the implementation of Tobacco Retail Licensing (TRL) and consistent compliance checks.
From a health equity standpoint, this change in statute also helps to protect minority populations. See our Enforcement Memo for more details.
Read more about the work done by the Maine legislature and the discussion held in the House and Senate chambers in the article below.