MONTPELIER - The Vermont House of Representatives today voted in support of S.86, commonly referred to as Tobacco 21, which would increase the statewide age of sale for tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21.
Jennifer Costa, Vermont director of government relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), released the following statement:
“Kids and tobacco just don’t mix. Research shows that if a person does not begin smoking at a young age, they are much less likely to ever smoke. In fact, 95 percent of adults who smoke started smoking before the age of 21 and nearly all of them started by age 26.
“ACS CAN applauds House lawmakers for voting overwhelmingly in favor of this potentially lifesaving measure – it brings us one step closer to a long awaited and hard-earned public health victory for future generations of Vermont residents. Tobacco is the number one cause of preventable death nationwide, and one-third of all cancer deaths are related to tobacco use. Simply put, reducing tobacco use will save lives.
“Sadly, there are an estimated 10,000 Vermont kids, under 18, alive today who will ultimately die prematurely from smoking. Raising the age of sale for tobacco products is a step toward saving lives, and restricting youth and young adult access to tobacco products can be a critical component of a comprehensive strategy to reduce initiation and lifelong tobacco addiction.
“ACS CAN is grateful for the leadership of Senator Ginny Lyons, Representative George Till, Representative Ann Pugh, and Representative Jessica Brumsted, as well as the House and Senate committees who spent hours taking testimony on this issue. We also applaud members of the Senate for supporting this legislation. We urge Governor Scott to sign this bill into law when it reaches his desk.”
In addition to increasing the statewide age of sale of all tobacco products from 18 to 21, ACS CAN is also urging Vermont lawmakers to enact H.26, which would prohibit the online sale of e-cigarettes to anyone other than licensed dealers, and H.47, which would implement a tax on e-cigarettes that is on par with traditional tobacco.