Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, issued a press release thanking Rep. Paul McMurtry and Sen. Jason Lewis for their leadership in sponsoring legislation that prohibits the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21 and includes other important public health protections.
With final passage by the Legislature today, Massachusetts is poised to become the sixth state to prohibit the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21. This legislation will prevent young people in Massachusetts from starting to use tobacco, save lives and help make the next generation tobacco-free.
In addition to raising the tobacco age to 21, the Massachusetts legislation prohibits pharmacies from selling tobacco products and adds e-cigarettes to the state’s smoke-free law. Massachusetts will be the first state to enact a statewide prohibition on tobacco sales in pharmacies. In his press release, Myers highlights the importance of this legislation to Massachusetts:
“In Massachusetts, tobacco kills over 9,300 people and costs over $4 billion in health care expenses each year. Without additional action to reduce tobacco use, over 100,000 kids alive today in Massachusetts will die prematurely from smoking. Increasing the tobacco age to 21 is a critical step in reducing and eventually eliminating tobacco’s terrible toll.”
July 19, 2018
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.
May 11, 2018
Even before they surveyed hundreds of residents on the issue, high-schoolers Mitchell van der Noll and Aiden Williams knew e-cigarettes was a growing problem among teenagers in town.
The high school seniors, who distributed the survey as interns with Town Hall this spring, said the number of students using the devices has “exploded” over the last year or two.
Students can be found smoking e-cigarettes in the high school bathrooms, in the parking lots, at parties outside of school and most recently, at the middle schools, they said. Most use the newest device, a Juul vape pen.
“It kind of came out of nowhere,” Williams said. “You can see anyone from any social group using them at kind of any time. If you go into the bathroom at the high school there’s probably a greater than 50 percent chance you would find someone (smoking).”
The survey, distributed on a community Facebook page, revealed that Ridgefielders are taking notice. More than 39 percent of the 240 people surveyed said e-cigarettes surpass alcohol, heroin, marijuana and cocaine as the “most relevant substance abuse problem in our community today.”
About 97 percent said they have heard of the “widespread usage amongst teenagers” and almost 91 percent that they knew about high schoolers vaping in bathrooms during school.
July 4, 2018
Colorado tops 37 other states for e-cigarette use among high school students, according to a national school-based survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than a quarter of Colorado high schoolers currently use e-cigarettes and almost 6 percent say they use them frequently.
The state had a high vaping prevalence, but Alison Reidmohr, tobacco communication specialist with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, was “surprised to see the highest in the nation.” She noted it’s nearly double the national average, and appears to be driven by the popularity of the Juul brand.
The finding, based on states that participated in the survey and had available data, coincides with a push in several Colorado mountain towns to raise the minimum age for tobacco and nicotine purchases.
June 28, 2018
The Garrison City will become the first municipality in the state to raise the age to legally possess, use and purchase tobacco products in Dover to 21 years old.
The City Council voted to approve the ordinance change on a 6-1-2 vote, with Ward 4 Councilor Marcia Gasses voting no, Mayor Karen Weston recusing, and Ward 6 Councilor Matthew Keane absent from the meeting.
Members of Dover Youth to Youth had brought forward the resolution and asked Weston to sponsor it, which she agreed to do. Weston recused herself from the discussion and vote to avoid a conflict of interest as the store she co-owns with her family sells cigarettes.
Three members of Dover Youth to Youth, Hannah Martuscello, Olivia Malone and Elsa Rogers, spoke on behalf of the ordinance during its public hearing before the council vote at Wednesday’s council meeting. They said the by raising the age from 18 years old to 21 to purchase, possess and use tobacco would increase the health and safety of the youth in the city. While they noted that tobacco use has been on the decline for years, there has been an increase in e-cigarette use, which has become an issue at the high school bathrooms, they said.
Jun 28, 2018