Bill would raise legal age to buy tobacco products

Lawmakers back bill to raise age to buy tobacco to 21

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Another bill awaiting the Gov. LePage's signature would raise the legal age for buying tobacco products from 18 to 21. But opponents say raising the age won't keep young people from smoking.

The bill, which would also cover electronic smoking devices, received broad bipartisan support. It's aimed at reducing the number of young people who take up smoking.

Pete Walsh Jr., the owner of 8 Corners Pizza, says he cards everyone to make sure minors do not buy purchase cigarettes.  He sells about 120 cartons of cigarettes a week and 30 percent of his customers are between the ages of 18 to 25.

He says it's worth a small loss in sales to keep young people from picking up an unhealthy habit.

"I think they make decisions where there is a lot of peer pressure," Walsh Jr. said. "I think they get in those groups, but its the guy who buys the cigarettes for those minors, you need to go after."

If approved, the bill would cost the state about $4.5 million a year in tobacco-related sales tax revenue.

Supporters say it's worth it to prevent a generation from having health problems in the future.

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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