On December 17th, Boston raised the minimum sales age to purchase tobacco and nicotine products (including e-cigarettes) in the city to 21, joining 86+ other local communities who have also raised the age to 21. In 2005 Needham was the first local community to take on this policy, the data collected showed results and helped other cities to pass their own policies. With Boston passing this initiative, nearly half of the state's population is protected by a raised minimum age. This is an opportunity for a statewide bill to pass.
Tobacco use persists as the number one cause of premature death and preventable chronic disease across the state and country. More than 9,000 Massachusetts residents die annually from tobacco-related disease. Most adult smokers (95%) start smoking before the age of 21. Without prevention policies, 103,000 Massachusetts kids alive today will die from smoking. Policies to reduce availability of tobacco products to youth have tremendous public health benefit and reduce nicotine addiction and tobacco use in adults over time.
A statewide bill would address the rate of youth smoking by redefining the legal age to purchase these products. Public health policies aimed at reducing tobacco use have had tremendous positive impact on the health of our residents over the past several decades. We look forward to working with you on this issue.