HARTFORD, Conn.—Connecticut has become the 16th state to mandate 21 as the minimum tobacco buying age, The Middletown Press reports. Gov. Ned Lamont signed the bill that includes tobacco and vaping products. The new restriction will go into effect October 1.
Included in the bill is a 40%-per-milliliter tax on e-cigarette liquid pre-filled and manufacturer sealed, and a 10% tax on the wholesale cost of all other vaping products. Connecticut found that the number of state high school students using vaping products jumped twofold from 2015 to 2017, according to a state Department of Public Health report. In Connecticut, 14.7% of high school students said they were “currently” vaping in 2017, up sharply from 7.2% in 2015.
“When our laws surrounding tobacco products were written several decades ago, the medical evidence about the impact of the substance did not exist. With the rising use of e-cigarettes and vaping products among young people, we are seeing a growing public health crisis. Some have pointed out that raising the age to 21 will result in a net revenue loss to the state, but when it comes to the health of our young people we need to do what is right,” Lamont said a few weeks before signing the bill.
In May, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced a federal measure that would increase the minimum tobacco buying age to 21. Meanwhile, Altria and Juul Labs have both gone on record in favor of a federal minimum tobacco buying age of 21.