Push To Raise Tobacco Age Stalls In N.H. Legislature

Mar 7, 2019

Credit Sarah Gibson for NHPR

A legislative effort to raise the age to buy tobacco products across New Hampshire will not move forward this year.

Dover and Keene, as well as the Town of Newmarket, recently upped their local age to purchase cigarettes and vaping supplies to 21. 

A bill this session sponsored by Democratic Senator David Watters, among others, looked to expand those restrictions statewide. But lawmakers referred the legislation for further study this week, essentially killing the effort.

Watters said he’ll reintroduce the idea next year, and he’s optimistic support will grow over the coming months. Maine and Massachusetts recently raised the age to buy tobacco products to 21, largely in efforts to protect public health. 

Retailers have expressed concern that the change would cut into their sales. Others oppose the push as an unnecessary restriction on young people’s rights.