A state senate committee has voted to back a bill to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products in New Hampshire to 21. The move comes just months after the state budget bumped up the minimum age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 19.
The Democrats who control the Senate Commerce Committee say it's time make 21 the legal age to buy tobacco. The 3 to 2 party line committee vote ensures the tobacco age debate will restart when the full legislature returns to Concord in January. The commitee's Democrats voted in favor of the bill, the Republicans against.
Prior to the vote, Senate President Donna Soucy, a Democrat, told colleagues that raising the age to 21 is the right thing to do.
"Major tobacco companies have said 21 should be the age, and I know there is legislation at the federal level, it hasn't been enacted yet. But I really think its the right time to enact this legislation and I think that its important that we do it."
Dover, Newmarket and Keene have already passed ordinances setting 21 as the minimum age to buy tobacco in those communities. 21 is also the minimum age in more than a dozen states, including Maine and Vermont.