After two years of debate, Sitka’s tobacco age goes to 21

The age to buy tobacco in Sitka will be going up, if an ordinance passed by the Sitka Assembly this week survives a second reading.

There was broad support for the local initiative — called Tobacco 21 — after the assembly’s concerns were addressed over how to deal with the 19-to-20 year olds who are already hooked on smoking.

Tobacco 21 is a statewide policy in 4 states — Oregon, California, Maine, and New Jersey — and it’s likely to pass the Massachusetts legislature in the near future. Elsewhere around the nation, including Sitka, advocates for increasing the age to purchase tobacco to 21 are concentrating on local policy. The Sitka Health Needs and Human Services commission drafted language to increase the age in Sitka from 19 to 21 in 2016.

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May 11, 2018