Small but important step to stem tide of youth tobacco addiction

How will Maine's new law protect our kids from cigarettes, JUUL, and cigars?

hero_image_alt_text===A sign against kids using e-cigarettes.

Last year, You're the Cure advocates showed that action can speak louder than tobacco industry money. In August 2017, Maine became the 4th state to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21. With your help, our small but mighty band of public health lobbyists beat back a HUGE number of well-funded tobacco lobbyists. We could never have done it without you backing us up.

On July 1st, 2018, the law went into effect. This comprehensive law includes cigarettes, all vaping products including JUUL, cigars, rolling papers and other tobacco paraphernalia.

I have really enjoyed seeing the new age restriction signs at convenience stores, grocery, and big box stores as I travel throughout the state. When people ask me if it is hard to enforce the new law, I point them to two basic facts: The law applies to ANYONE born after July 1, 2000 (easy date to remember) and the legal age for alcohol, gambling, marijuana etc. is 21. This makes everything easier, not harder. Besides, Maine law requires that stores check the ID of anyone under 30. That has not changed at all.

The reason the American Heart Association supports this law is it is an important step to stem the rising tide of youth use of vaping products (almost all of which include high amounts of very addictive nicotine). It will be harder for our younger teens to get their hands on tobacco. It is rare for 14-15 year-olds to be in the same social circles as 21 year-olds, but very common for them to be around 18 year-olds.

Thank you for all you do on behalf of the American Heart Association. It really makes a difference.


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