An issue that has begun to pick up traction nationally is increasing the tobacco purchase age to 21. Currently only Hawaii has passed such a law, but numerous states, including CT, have considered it during their current legislative sessions.
The American Heart Association, along with other groups, testified in favor of the bill before the Public Health committee. There was also a press conference in support of the bill, which was attended by both Democrat and Republican lawmakers as well as two American Heart Association representatives: advocate and CT/Western Mass. Board President Dr. Seth Lapuk, and CT Government Relations Director, Mr. Jim Williams.
Opposition to the bill was mainly done behind the scenes by the tobacco industry, who suggested that if the bill passed the state would lose significant tax revenue. In a year when the state is facing a massive budget deficit, this opposition proved enough to kill the bill. Legislators and advocates will be back next legislative session to continue work on this important effort in our fight against tobacco.