Recent updates! – Tobacco 21 Progress – Statewide Bill Tracker

2/21/2017 – Senator Alison Clarkson and 3 other co-sponsors introduce Senate Bill 88. The bill would raise the legal sales age for all tobacco products from 18 to 21; referred to Senate Committee on Health and Welfare.
1/17/2017 – Representative George Till and 26 additional co-sponsors introduce House Bill 52. The bill would raise the legal sales age for all tobacco products from 18 to 21; referred to House Committee on Human Services.
4/6/2016 – House Bill 93 passes General Assembly by 84-61 margin, on to Senate
4/5/2016 – House Bill 93 passes ways and means committee
3/29/2016 – House Bill 93 referred to Ways and Means committee
1/29/2015 – Representative George Till introduces statewide Tobacco bill to House, House Bill 93

Vermont is currently considering two Tobacco 21 measures, Representative George Till’s House Bill 52 that has 26 additional co-sponsors and Senator Clarkson’s Senate Bill 88 that has 2 additional co-sponsors. Dr. Till is a former physician who has been a strong advocate for tobacco control by sponsoring bills to raise tobacco taxes, provide more effective compliancy checks for tobacco retailers, and limit public smoking.

Vermont currently has a near national average rate of high school smoking, and a below national average rate of adult smoking. In 2017, Vermont is among the handful of states that have dedicated over 50% of the CDC recommended amount on tobacco prevention at 51.1%. However, meeting the full amount would require only a small fraction of the $348 million in annual health care costs that are directly caused by smoking. An estimated 10,000 children now under the age of 18 will eventually die early due to smoking, with 200 children becoming daily smokers every year.

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

Visit our sources:

Tobacco Free Kids Vermont: “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 Vermont: “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