Franklin considers raising minimum age to buy, use tobacco products from 18 to 21

Monitor staff
Published: 9/4/2019 5:42:02 PM

Franklin could become the latest New Hampshire community to raise the minimum age for residents to buy, possess or sell tobacco products from 18 to 21.

“This has been a goal of ours for a while,” said Franklin police Chief David Goldstein. “I don’t think there’s a whole lot of argument against it. No one is saying, ‘Smoking is good.’ ”

The proposal would cover cigarettes, tobacco, e-cigarettes, and “related paraphernalia,” according to a public notice sent out about the hearing. A public hearing is Thursday at 6 p.m. at city hall.

Several New Hampshire communities, including Dover, Keene and Newmarket, already have enacted ordinances to raise the minimum tobacco age to 21. New York, Maine and Vermont have all recently banned people under the age of 21 from purchasing tobacco products.

The legislation to raise the minimum age for tobacco was proposed in New Hampshire this year and was folded into the state budget. That budget was vetoed by Gov. Chris Sununu, who has opposed an age raise in the past.

According to the American Cancer Society, 95% of all smokers begin using tobacco before age 21.

“It makes common sense that if you can get through the age of 21 without smoking, that will discourage a lot of people from getting addicted to tobacco products,” Franklin Mayor Tony Giunta said.

Goldstein said Franklin, led by the Mayor’s Drug Task Force, is hoping to curb tobacco use by continuing outreach and education in schools about the dangers of smoking.

“We are trying to get to our young people and school kids and educate them and do preventative work,” he said. “We going to the young kids in grade school and reminding them, ‘This is not good for you,’ and we’re working at it from that point of view.”

He said he knows it will likely not convince young people who have already started smoking to stop.

“Tobacco is highly addictive. If someone is already smoking at 19, they probably aren’t going to stop if the age is raised,” he said. “We’re hoping this will help a lot of people who haven’t necessarily been exposed to it yet.”

If this ordinance was passed in Franklin, people who violate the new rule would be subject to a fine, Goldstein said.




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