Officials in New Hampshire are moving forward with efforts to reduce vaping and tobacco use among teens in advance of state and federal laws raising the minimum purchasing age in 2020.
On January 1, the age for purchasing tobacco and vape products in New Hampshire will increase to 19.
Patricia Tilley, Deputy Director of the New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services at NH DHHS, says there is not clear evidence that raising the age by one year will have a significant impact, but advocates hope it will reduce teenagers' access to vaping products.
“By raising at least to 19 we know that that's one step in the right direction to ensuring that there are a fewer kids in high school who can legally purchase those products,” she says.
Last week, President Trump signed a bill that will raise the federal purchase age to 21 by summer 2020.
The Division of Enforcement and Lisensing at the NH Liquor Commission says it will work with the state's approximately 5,500 lisencees that sell tobacco and vape products to reach compliance with the anticipated changes in 2020.
Tilley says DHHS is offering a number of programs in light of the spike in teen nicotine use, including My Life My Quit, a free addiction and cessation support program available over the phone or via text message.