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Should NH raise the smoking age to 21?

Aug 05, 2017

BY: CCNH-LFDA Highlights

This past week Maine became the fourth state to raise the purchasing age for cigarettes to twenty-one years-old.

255 counties and municipalities in fourteen other states also prohibit selling cigarettes to someone under age twenty-one. 

New Hampshire, like most states, allows adults age eighteen and over to purchase and smoke cigarettes.

Should New Hampshire raise the smoking age?

Supporters of the new Maine law point out that citizens must already be twenty-one to purchase alcohol.  The negative effects of cigarettes are well known, so it makes sense that access to tobacco should be similarly controlled.

Supporters also point to studies that show most smokers start before age twenty-one.  Raising the legal smoking age could decrease the number of teenagers exposed to cigarettes and reduce the number of people who start smoking - which decreases public health costs in the future.

An issue of liberty (and revenue)

Opponents of raising the smoking age argue that if someone is legally an adult, they have the right to make decisions about their health - including the decision to smoke cigarettes.  After all, the law acknowledges that eighteen year-olds are mature enough to join the military and vote.

Raising the smoking age to twenty-one could also cut into cigarette tax revenue.  The tobacco tax brings in about 10% of New Hampshire's unrestricted revenue (tax dollars that are not earmarked for a specific purpose).

Would you support raising the smoking age in New Hampshire?  Let us know in the comments below.

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