Lawmakers in Concord heard testimony Thursday on a bill that would raise the smoking age to 21 statewide.
Wednesday night, Newmarket became the latest New Hampshire community to raise the smoking age to 21. It follows Keene and before that Dover.
Hannah Martuscello, a senior at Dover High School, is part of a youth group that advocates for raising the smoking age statewide. She said tobacco use in her school isn't just about cigarettes anymore.
"Definitely you're seeing a takeover of the vape industry in the high schools. And people really aren't understanding that these vape products, these JUULs, have no no-nicotine option," Martuscello said.
Victor Vitale with the New Hampshire Vapers Association spoke in opposition to the bill, offering his view that vaping products help people stop smoking traditional cigarettes. “By raising the age to 21, you’re taking away support,” he said. He added that, in his view, raising the smoking age wouldn’t stop underage purchases online.
Nancy Vaughan, Government Relations Director with the American Heart Association, said there are $729,000 in health care costs related to tobacco in New Hampshire.
Meanwhile, Nashua will consider an ordinance next week to become the latest city to raise its smoking age to 21.