Next July, Maine will become the fourth state to increase its smoking age to 21. Maine legislators voted to overturn Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of the measure.
LePage had objected to the bill, labeling it as trying to “engineer our lives.” He also said it wasn’t fair to ask 18-year-olds to join the military and not have a choice on tobacco usage.
State Sen. Paul Davis, who sponsored the bill, said LePage didn’t get the purpose of the new law.
“People who join the military don’t have 15-year-old kids following them around and being impressed by their actions,” Davis said. “It’s about the availability of cigarettes in schools.”
The law will take effect on July 1, 2018. The change applies to hookah pipes, smoking accessories and electronic cigarettes, as well as traditional tobacco products.
Other states considering upping the age restriction to 21 for tobacco products this year include Michigan, Washington, Texas, Arizona, Oregon, Nebraska, Connecticut, Vermont and Florida. Currently, only California, New Jersey and Hawaii have statewide restrictions on being 21 to buy tobacco, although about 200 other localities also have risen the minimum tobacco purchase age above age 18.