House OKs 21 as minimum statewide age for buying tobacco

The Massachusetts House has approved raising from 18 to 21 the minimum age for purchasing cigarettes and other tobacco or vaping products across the entire state.

The bill cleared the House on Wednesday by an overwhelming 146-4 vote, and now moves to the Senate.

Supporters say more than 70 percent of Massachusetts residents already live in cities and towns where you have to be 21 to buy tobacco.

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The legislation aimed at discouraging teens from taking up smoking would also ban vaping on school grounds and other public places, and prohibit tobacco sales in pharmacies.

The bill would not make it a crime for people under age 21 to use tobacco.

Five other states — California, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey and Oregon — have Tobacco 21 laws.