Mayor Walsh Wants to Raise Age to Buy Tobacco, Nicotine Products to 21

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Today Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced that Boston is looking to raise the minimum age to buy all tobacco and nicotine products to 21. The proposal includes e-cigarettes.

Boston's Board of Heath is expected to vote on the proposal on December 17, and if approved, would become a Boston law 60 days later. A public hearing is scheduled for December 3, and written comment can be submitted until December 9.

"It is our responsibility to do what we can to guide our young people and create a healthier future for all Bostonians," said Walsh. "We know the consequences of tobacco use are real and can be devastating. These proposed changes send a strong message that Boston takes the issue of preventing tobacco addiction seriously, and I hope that message is heard throughout Boston and across the entire country."

Kevin O'Flaherty of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said 95% of adult smokers began smoking before they turned 21, and ages 18 to 21 are critical years when young people transition from experimenting with tobacco into becoming regular users.

In recent years Boston has tried very hard to combat youth smoking. Among Boston high school students, the rate of cigarette use declined from 15.3% in 2005 to 7.9% in 2013, according to stats provided by Boston. The national average is 15.7%.

In addition to raising the age to buy tobacco and nicotine products to 21, proposed amendments would also: increase the age of admission to adult-only retail tobacco stores and smoking bars to 21; prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products and nicotine delivery products other than menthol in all retail outlets except for adult-only retail tobacco stores and smoking bars and more.

Click here for more information on the proposed changes.