Governor Ned Lamont is reminding Connecticut residents that a new law he championed and signed earlier this year raising the age to legally purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 took effect on Tuesday, October 1, 2019. The governor is encouraging retail store owners and operators to educate their employees on the implementation of the new law, advising that it will be strictly enforced.

The administration estimates that the state is set to lose about $6.3 million in annual tax revenue due to the implementation of the law, however Governor Lamont feels that the health of young people needs to take priority. The biennial state budget that was adopted in June included adjustments to prepare for the revenue loss.

“Many decades ago when most of our laws surrounding tobacco products were written, the medical evidence on the impact the substance has, particularly on young people and the ongoing development of their brains, did not exist. Continuing the enforcement of outdated laws just because that’s the way it’s always been is not a good enough reason for why they should continue to reflect outdated perceptions,” Governor Lamont said. “With the rising use of e-cigarettes and vaping products among young people, we are seeing a growing public health crisis and it’s time that we addressed it.”

Section 12-330a of the Connecticut General Statutes defines the term tobacco products to include cigars, cheroots, stogies, periques, granulated, plug cut, crimp cut, ready rubbed and other smoking tobacco, snuff tobacco products, cavendish, plug and twist tobacco, fine cut and other chewing tobaccos, shorts, refuse scraps, clippings, cuttings and sweepings of tobacco and all other kinds and forms of tobacco, prepared in such manner as to be suitable for chewing or smoking in a pipe or otherwise or for both chewing and smoking.

Over the last several years, eighteen states have adopted laws raising the age to purchase tobacco products to 21. In addition to Connecticut, they include Arkansas, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. Nearly 500 municipalities throughout the country have also adopted similar local ordinances.

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