The time is right to change the legal purchase age for tobacco
The American Heart Association has been working alongside tobacco-control partners for many years, to reduce smoking, still a major cause of preventable heart disease and stroke. NH was successful in raising the price of cigarettes in the early 2000’s by increasing the state excise tax from 52 cents to $1.78 per pack. Raising the price of tobacco had been our main tactic in NH to reduce youth rates of initiation. But there have been no tax increases since 2009. There have been numerous new tobacco products brought onto the market since then, such as flavored ‘other tobacco products’ and electronic cigarettes. These products are not taxed like cigarettes, and are all designed to appeal to young people, to start them on the road to nicotine addiction. Nearly 150 cities and towns across Massachusetts have already changed their legal age to purchase tobacco to 21 years. New Hampshire needs to join these efforts by raising our own legal purchase age.