Inhale, Breathe, ...Smoke

Eighteen has been the magic number for many things in life. At 18, you can watch films legally that before you were not permitted to see in cinema theaters. At the age of 18, one can legally have a license to drive, buy cigarettes and finally be seen as an adult in the eyes of the law. However, 18 may stop being the magical number for all those who enjoy smoking. 

Needham, a suburb in Massachusetts, became the first place in the United States to raise the minimum age from 18 to 21 for the purchase of cigarettes and all other tobacco products. This change came about in 2005, and today, 15 years later, Boston is also trying to encompass this change.

Products such as these can now only be sold to those of the age 21 and older and no longer 18 and older.

Currently there is a bill that proposes a restriction of selling any tobacco products to individuals under 21; there would be punishments ranging from $100 to $300 for reoccurring penalties. It has the signatures of almost 60 representatives and senators. The bill’s progress will be decided next year by the Legislature’s Public Health Committee.

Boston wants things to happen at a more rapid speed. The Boston Board of Health has scheduled a hearing Thursday this week. They also hope to have their vote on Dec. 17. If mayor Mary Walsh’s proposal is passed, 18 would no longer be the magic number by early February or March.

The number 18 is beginning to transform into 21. Inhale, breathe, and wait some more…because you don’t get to smoke just yet.

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