State lawmakers consider plan to raise age to buy cigarettes, vaping products

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HARTFORD -
State lawmakers are mulling over a proposal that would require buyers of cigarettes and vaping products to be at least 21 years old.
 
The bill would also place a ban on flavored liquid, which health advocates say would help keep teens away from products like Juul.
 
State lawmakers held a public hearing on the proposal Monday afternoon.
 
Gov. Ned Lamont included the idea in his state budget, and the city of Bridgeport has already raised their smoking age.
 
While the e-cigarette industry insists their product is a safer alternative to cigarettes, others disagree.
 
"If you get the vaping guys up here, the thing that we keep hearing is that this is a deterrent to smoking, this is a good thing," says Ken Welch, of Coalition for a Better Wallingford. "Well, I'd like to know how many high school principals they're going to parade in front of you, because they're dealing with this on the front lines."
 
In a statement, a JUUL Labs spokesperson voiced their support for the age limit change, saying in part, “We are committed to preventing youth access of JUUL products, and no young person or non-nicotine user should ever try JUUL. We cannot fulfill our mission to provide the world’s one billion adult smokers with a true alternative to combustible cigarettes if youth use continues unabated.  Tobacco 21 laws have been shown to dramatically reduce youth smoking rates, which is why we strongly support raising the minimum purchase age for all tobacco products, including vaping products like JUUL, to 21 in Connecticut."
 
In response to the potential ban on flavored pods, the spokesperson added, "We share a common goal with Connecticut lawmakers, which is preventing youth from initiating on nicotine, while preserving the opportunity for adults to switch from combustible cigarettes which contribute to over 4,900 deaths a year in Connecticut. As part of our action plan announced in November, we suspended the distribution of non-tobacco and non-menthol-based flavored pods to over 90,000 traditional retail outlets. Currently, we only sell them on our secure ecommerce platform, JUUL.com, which limits sales to adults 21 or over and prevents bulk purchases. We launched JUULpod flavors as effective tools to help adult smokers switch from cigarettes and do not and will not sell flavors which are clearly targeted to youth. We are starting to see the critical impact our flavored products have on adult smokers through behavioral-science programs."

 

 

 

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