Public Health Advocates Decry Failure of ‘Tobacco 21’ Legislation

New Hampshire lawmakers miss opportunity to save countless lives

March 7, 2019

CONCORD –  Today, the New Hampshire legislature re-referred a bill to raise the minimum age for tobacco sales, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21 years old back to it’s committee to be studied over the summer. The following statement can be atrributed to Mike Rollo, director of government relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) in New Hampshire:

“New Hampshire lawmakers have missed an opportunity to join our neighbors Maine and Massacshuetts in saving countless lives by increasing the statewide age of sale of tobacco from 18 to 21. This meaure would have included e-cigarettes, which have seen skyrocketing rates of use among our youth and are known to lead to smoking combustible cigarettes.

“Preventing children and young adults from smoking is the best way to reduce the death, disease, and health care costs that come with this addiction. According to the Institute of Medicine, implementing tobacco 21 policies nationwide could reduce youth smoking initiation by as much as 25 percent, decrease overall tobacco use by 12 percent and save millions in health care costs.

“Despite today’s legislative action, this fight is far from over. While this is an unfortunate setback, our advocates will continue to work with state lawmakers to give the next generation of New Hampshire kids a healthier, smokefree future.”

Studies show that 95 percent of adult smokers began smoking before they turned 21. Restricting young adults’ access to tobacco products is a critical component to preventing addiction to tobacco, which is linked to about 30 percent of all cancer deaths.


The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit

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