Connecticut Becomes 16th State to Adopt Tobacco 21 Legislation

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Connecticut Becomes 16th State to Adopt Tobacco 21 Legislation

Cigarette sales

HARTFORD, Conn. — The number of states increasing the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21 keeps growing.

On June 19, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signed Tobacco 21 legislation into law. The change goes into effect Oct. 1, according to The Associated Press.

Harold Wimmer, president and CEO of the American Lung Association, said Tobacco 21 measures are "more important than ever" given the increase in youth electronic cigarette use. He added adolescents and young adults are uniquely vulnerable to the effects of nicotine and nicotine addiction, making Connecticut's legislation "an important, life-saving measure," the news outlet reported.

The Connecticut law also bans smoking on the grounds of childcare centers and schools.

The hike of the tobacco-buying age statewide follows similar moves at the local level by several Connecticut municipalities. In October, Hartford became the first municipality in the state to adopt a Tobacco 21 and Bridgeport followed suit in January.

To date, eight local governments across the state approved a higher minimum age.  

With Lamont's signature, Connecticut becomes the 15 state to prohibit the sale of tobacco products to consumers under 21.

The Tobacco 21 movement began to take hold at the state level when Hawaii became the first state to hike the tobacco buying age to 21 on Jan. 1, 2016. Other states followed suit, including California, Oregon, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and, most recently, Texas.