Recent updates! – Tobacco 21 Progress – Statewide Bill Tracker

3/16/2017 – HB5284 passes out of Joint Committee on Public Health, referred to Office of Legislative Research and Office of Fiscal Analysis
1/19/2017 – Senator Mae Flexer, along with 3 additional co-sponsors, introduces Senate Bill 448, which would raise tobacco and nicotine sales age to 21, referred to Joint Committee on Public Health
1/10/2017 – House Committee on Public Health introduces and sponsors House Bill 5284, which would raise tobacco and nicotine sales age to 21, referred to Joint Committee on Public Health

Connecticut has a near national average rate of high school smoking and a well-below national average rate of adult smoking. The state imposes one of the highest taxes in the country, at $3.90 per pack. Given the average rate of high school smoking and the low rate of adult smoking, however, it appears the state is not making progress in tobacco prevention.

Currently, 1,500 children become daily smokers each year, and an estimated 56,000 children now under the age of 18 will eventually die due to smoking. The result is an annual health care cost of $2.03 billion that is caused by smoking, with an additional $1.25 billion in lost productivity. Despite this, the state only spends 6.8% of the CDC recommended amount on tobacco prevention and will spend no state funds on funding for tobacco programs in 2017.

There is no preemption language present in state law keeping localities from raising the Minimum Legal Sales Age (MLSA) to 21. Local governments are free to enact ordinances to better protect their kids from addiction. It has been our experience that the most powerful incentive for the state legislature to act is the initiative of local citizens and governmental leaders. Statewide, California and Hawaii’s laws both began at the local level where powerful tobacco industry lobbyists have little sway. We encourage you to talk to your local city council person, county council member or board of health leader. Local champions have largely driven this movement in non-preempted states. Your voice is more influential than you think. Constituents are an impetus for change at the community and statewide levels. Garner interest around Tobacco 21 at the local and state level by communicating with your local legislators through phone calls, emails, and testimony at local government meetings. For more information, you may contact:

Rob Crane, MD
Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation

Kevin O’Flaherty
Played a direct role in shaping NYC’s historic T21 legislation.
Director Northeastern Region
Tobacco Free Kids

or visit our sources:

Tobacco Free Kids Connecticut: “The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Our vision: A future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco.”

American Lung Association State Report Card: “The ALA ‘State of Tobacco Control’ report tracks progress on key tobacco control policies at the state and federal levels, and assigns grades based on tobacco control laws and regulations in effect as of January 2, 2014.”

SLATI State Information Connecticut: “SLATI (State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues) is an extensively researched and invaluable source of information on tobacco control laws and policy, and is the only up-to-date and comprehensive summary of state tobacco control laws.”

The Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation and the Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids support these four principles for Tobacco 21 ordinances:

1) Include all tobacco and nicotine products, specifically e-cigarettes. The only exceptions would be FDA recognized nicotine replacement products (gum, patch, etc.) intended for cessation.
2) Include significant enforcement provisions against illegal sales as research shows that consistent enforcement is of critical importance.
3) Not include any pre-emption against local authority in more stringent regulation of tobacco or other nicotine product sales, secondhand smoke, or e-cigarette vapor.
4) Ideally not include possession, usage, or purchase (PUP) penalties that result in criminal records, and instead place the onus on the purveyors of these addictive products

We welcome your comments and suggestions: Contact Us