ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Maryland students, along with health advocate organizations, are pressing the General Assembly to pass a bill raising the tobacco buying age from 18 to 21, WBAL-TV reports. House Bill 953 would increase the tobacco sales age.
This week, students discussed the bill with legislators. “People will excuse themselves from class in school to go to the bathroom and vape. In other cases, people don’t even try to hide it and vape walking between classes,” said freshman Noah Rich.
“How can we prevent this? How can we keep those under the age of 18 from smoking and becoming addicts in their adulthood? The key is access. By preventing seniors from legally purchasing cigarettes or other addictive tobacco products, like dip or vape, you can hinder the tobacco market in high school and cut off the easy access to tobacco products,” said junior Julia Batavick.
However, opponents countered that an 18 year old has the right to decide for himself or herself whether or not to smoke. The Maryland bill will have several additional hearings.
Meanwhile, Washington state and Illinois also have bills that would raise the state’s tobacco buying age to 21. Currently, five states—California, Maine, Hawaii, New Jersey and Oregon—have 21 as the minimum age for using and buying tobacco.