TOBACCO 21 BILL- TOBACCO USE BY MINORS IN CONNECTICUT
A growing concern regarding the use of cigarettes, tobacco products, electronic delivery systems and vaping products amongst minors recently led to a Public Act in which the sale of such products is prohibited to those persons under the age of twenty-one (21) years old, raised from the previous age of eighteen (18). [Public Act No. 19-13]. The new act sets forth penalties for those selling such products to minors, as well as regulates the location of cigarette vending machines to ensure that they are not placed in locations that are primarily accessible to minors. This new law went into effect on October 1, 2019.
The hope with the passage of this law is that it will cut down on the number of minors who start smoking and/or vaping at an early age. The issues related to electronic nicotine delivery systems and vapor products have been rampant in the news lately, in light of explosions and/or malfunctions caused by the batteries for these devices and in light of the general health concerns related to the use of these products. [Read More: NBC Article]. Recent deaths have even been reported with respect to vaping products, including one from Connecticut, with the State of Massachusetts recently issuing a four (4) month ban on the sale of vaping products. [Read More: Reuters Article] .
“Every day, close to 2,500 youth under 18 try their first cigarette and more than 400 kids become regular daily smokers. . . . Because students typically do not reach 21 years old while still in high school, Connecticut’s new law is expected to greatly reduce the number of high school students who have easy access to tobacco products.” [Read More: Branford Seven Article]. A December 2018 announcement by the U.S. Surgeon General noted that electronic cigarette use by minors had reached epidemic levels, which “increased by a staggering 78 percent among high school students from 2017 to 2018.” [Read More: Branford Seven Article]. The data show nearly eighteen (18%) percent of high school students in Connecticut reporting use of tobacco products.
Connecticut is now one of eighteen (18) states to have raised the minimum age for the sale of tobacco products to twenty-one (21) years old. Without easy access to these products, the numbers will hopefully head in the opposite direction and will hopefully reduce the number of students that have access to these dangerous produc