With smoking age increase to 19 looming, New Hampshire eyes another hike to 21

By Sarah Downey | The Center Square

The New Hampshire Senate Commerce Committee has voted 3-2 to endorse a bill that would raise the age for buying tobacco products in New Hampshire to 21.

The committee’s three Democrats voted for the bill, SB 248, and the two Republicans voted against it. The measure could go before the full Legislature when the next session starts in January.

Flickr/Lindsay Fox (ecigarettereviewed.com)

N.H. state Sen. Harold French: “Whether they choose to smoke or take nicotine, these are the same people we give the right to vote to, the right to sign away their life to go war for us.” 

According to the Concord Monitor, a recent rise in teen vaping and vaping-related illnesses motivated Senate President Donna Soucy, D-Manchester, to back the bill.

However, Republicans contend another jump would serve to curtail young people’s freedom, particularly since the state just hiked the age from 18 to 19 as part of the compromise budget that goes into effect Jan. 1. New Hampshire’s Republican governor, Chris Sununu, is also against raising the age to 21.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Morse, R-Salem, and Sen. Harold French, R-Franklin, were the two Commerce Committee members who voted against recommending the bill.

“I don’t believe that this issue is actually an issue about tobacco, cigarettes, use of nicotine,” French said. “I believe it’s the rights of our young adults to make decisions that’s at stake here.”

Keeping the age where it is makes sense given the other freedoms 19-year-olds have.

“Whether they choose to smoke or take nicotine, these are the same people we give the right to vote to, the right to sign away their life to go war for us,” French added. “They have the right to marry, among many other legal responsibilities they can take on. And we’re telling them that they don’t have the capability of deciding whether they’re going to use nicotine or not.”

Nancy Vaughn, government relations director at the American Heart Association of New Hampshire, said the organization favors raising the age to 21.

“It was really the electronic issue and the huge upsurge in usage that really catapulted us moving forward with this policy,” Vaughn said.

3 thoughts on “With smoking age increase to 19 looming, New Hampshire eyes another hike to 21

  1. We would do well by our youth and our founding documents to figure out what the age of adult hood is. We are so inconsistent, I distinctly remember having to sign up for the selective service under penalty of crime when I was 18. Back then you had all the rights and responsibilities of an adult.

    If Vermont treated their young adults, as adults perhaps we might become a destination state for young adults who understand liberty and the constitution.

    Having read some influential documents it might be best to have the age of majority be 20, with all rights and responsibilities…..until then 18 would be fair and just….

    How come the sjw’s aren’t clamoring about this?

  2. New Hampshire the ” Live Free Or Die ” State I guess the Liberals in politics,
    well, they know best just ask them, as you can’t up your own mind !!

    Sounds like the” live free ” is leaving the state, so now an eighteen-year-old can’t
    make a decision to smoke or not, but can defend this non-sense by joining the military
    at eighteen, and can cast a Vote in an election but when it comes to smoking……..

    So let’s make it easy, Twenty-One for Smoking, Military, Voting as they already have it
    for a handgun……..and for any major decision that we can’t trust an eighteen-year-old
    to make, pretty easy right……………

    Yup ” Live Free ” just might be leaving New Hampshire, thank a Liberal for more non-sense !!

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