Call to Action for Tobacco 21!
Call to Action
On Tuesday, March 17th, the House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Comittee will have a work session and executive session on SB 248, the Tobacco 21 bill. This bill would increase the NH's tobacco sales age to 21, the evidence-based age proven to support prevention. Please take a few minutes to reach out to the committee members and ask them to support SB 248.
- Representative Edward Butler: 603.374.6131
- Representive Kermit Williams: 603.654.7684
- Representive Kenneth Gidge: 603.888.2355
- Representive Richard Abel: 603.790.8365
- Representive Christy Bartlett: 603.224.3172
- Representive Christopher Herbert: 603.867.4711
- Representive Rebecca McBeath: 603.834.3281
- Representive Constance Van Houten: 603.622.9701
- Representive Kristina Fargo: 603.743.4290
- Representive Greg Indruk: 603.553.8111
- Representive Garrett Muscatel: n/a
- Representive Joyce Weston: 603.276.0862
- Representive John Hunt: 603.345.1129
- Representive Laurie Sanborn: 603.682.1557
- Representive Jason Osborne: 603.391.2138
- Representive Michael Costable: 603.303.5217
- Representive John Plumer: 603.527.3444
- Representive Arthur Barnes: 603.475.5335
- Representive John Potucek: 603.432.9049
- Representive Mark Warden: 603.391.2888
Talking Points for Your Call
Hi Representative ____________,
My name is ________ and I live in __________. As a constitutent who is very concerned about the increasing tobacco epidemic among youth, I am asking you to support SB 248.
NH must take this opportunity to increase the tobacco sales age to help state and local authorities enforce the new federal Tobacco 21 law and keep our youth healthy and safe from the harms of deadly substances. National data shows that 95 percent of adult smokers started before turning 21, when adolescent brains are especially susceptible to lifetime nicotine addiction. Recognizing this, vape and tobacco companies target young adults under 21, subjecting our youth to negative brain development impacts, addiction and a wide range of adverse health effects, including cancer, lung disease, heart disease and stroke.
According to Center for Disease Control Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids report, smoke-related diseases kill 1,900 Granite Staters each year. The same report found that smoking directly costs our state $729 million in annual health care expenditures and $506.9 million in smoking-caused productivity losses, among other charges.
Still, New Hampshire’s rate of youth tobacco use remains one of the country’s highest and is continuing to rise. Due in large part to the lack of regulation, relentless tobacco industry marketing towards youth and the ease at which they can access these products, 40 percent of Granite State youth have tried vaping and nearly 25 percent report regular use. We know tobacco products are highly addictive, especially for adolescent brains, and delaying the age when youth can purchase will reduce the risk of addiction.
Despite claims by the tobacco industry, we know that youth vaping is not a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes. Vape products are just as addictive and similarly harmful to youth brain development. The current marketing of harmful vape products towards youth hearkens back to the tobacco industry’s cigarette campaigns of the 1950s, and the negative consequences are already being felt in the form of vaping illness’s manifesting in our communities. For the health and future of the Granite State, it is now as important as ever to protect our youth from vape industry tactics and greed.
We don’t have to look too far into our history to see the impact raising the sales age can have on youth substance use. In 1991, when all states increased their legal drinking age from 18 to 21, total drinking by high school seniors dropped by 38 percent and binge drinking fell by similar amounts. Daily drinking fell by half and today’s 30-year-old adults drink significantly less than those who grew up with a lower drinking age.
Raising the tobacco purchasing age to 21 will help to keep these products away from our youth and will complement other strategies to reduce deadly tobacco use. Combined with other efforts to increase funding for prevention programs, enhance regulation, licensing and taxation of tobacco products, and prohibit sales of flavored products, Tobacco 21 would go far to improve the health and wellness of New Hampshire.
We cannot let another generation get addicted, it is time for New Hampshire to take this common-sense step. The current state law sets the age at 19, which creates a gap for state officials with the enforcement of the federal law. Tobacco 21 will cofidy the changes made by federal law in NH tobacco statutes and give NH clarity on this issue and keep the Granite State a healthy and safe place to live by protecting our youth.
Thank you for all you do to protect NH health and wellness.