With the backing of the state’s House and Senate, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has signed a bill raising the legal age to buy tobacco products statewide from 18 to 21 years old.
The bill also broadens existing prohibitions on public smoking to include e-cigarettes, and prohibits the use of tobacco products on the grounds of any public or private primary, secondary or vocational school.
Additionally, the new law will prohibit the sale of tobacco products by any pharmacy, hospital or other entity that offers healthcare services or that employs any licensed healthcare providers.
According to the Massachusetts Food Association, the proposal prohibits any retail establishment that sells pharmaceutical goods and services and is subject to regulation by the board of registration in pharmacy, or any retail establishment that operates a healthcare institution or has a healthcare institution located on or within its premises, from selling tobacco products and vapor products. They may continue to sell FDA-approved tobacco cessation products.
“Raising the age to buy tobacco products in the Commonwealth is an important step to prevent addiction for young people and encourage healthy choices,” Gov. Baker said. “We appreciate the Legislature’s collaboration to pass this bill that will limit the purchasing of cigarettes and other harmful products for those under 21 to support long-term health for the next generation.”
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health will produce posters that must be posted “conspicuously” in such establishments until Jan. 1, 2022. The new law takes effect on Dec. 30, 2018.
With Gov. Baker’s signature, Massachusetts becomes the sixth state to raise the minimum age for purchasing cigarettes to 21. The others are California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Maine and Oregon.