Bill could raise legal smoking age to 21

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– There’s a bill to raise the legal smoking age in the state of Connecticut from 18 to 21. You know you have to be at least 21 to buy alcohol here in Connecticut. But now some lawmakers want the same laws for cigarettes.

This bill would also make 21 the minimum age to buy e-cigarettes and vapor products as well. State Senator Mae Flexer authored the bill. She and the executive director of northeast communities against substance abuse testified in support of the bill before the legislature’s public health committee.

They mentioned studies that show that almost 90 percent of all adult smokers started at age 18 or younger. And that Connecticut spends at least a billion dollars per year on health care related to smoking.

Senator Flexer said that teens are more likely to buy their tobacco products from older peers. And raising the minimum age would eliminate a major way that young people get their tobacco.

Right now 1 in 5 high school students have used some form of tobacco in the past month. Supporters have said that more than 120 cities in America as well as the state of Hawaii have made 21 the minimum age to buy tobacco products.

The committee deadline for action on the bill is March 23.