CONCORD – NH DHHS Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) reminds businesses and consumers that state laws now prohibit the sale and possession of tobacco products for anyone under the age of 21. New Hampshire joins 32 other states in raising the tobacco age to 21.
On July 29, 2020, Governor Chris Sununu signed House Bill 1245 which increased the age from 19 to 21 to purchase, sell or possess tobacco products. Electronic vapor products, including e-cigarettes, e-cigars, e-pipes, vape pipes, vaping pens, e-hookahs, and hookah pens, are also considered tobacco products under the law.
According to Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation, more than 95% of all smokers started before the age of 21. In the 2019 New Hampshire Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 34% percent of New Hampshire high-school aged youth reported using an electronic vapor product at least once during the last 30 days. Unfortunately, New Hampshire’s rate of electronic vapor product use among youth remains among the highest in the nation.
“Teenage vaping continues to be a large concern among public health professionals in the State. By raising the smoking age to 21, we have the potential to reduce the risk for tobacco-use addiction for a whole new generation,” said Dr. Sai Cherala, DPHS Bureau Chief of Population Health and Community Services. “Any amount of tobacco use is unsafe for youth and young adults and can harm their developing brains.”
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services offers My Life, My Quit, a tobacco cessation service for teens who want to quit using any tobacco product. My Life, My Quit, provides free and confidential services to youth to help them quit. Participants can enroll online at mylifemyquit.com or by calling or texting “Start My Quit” to 1 (855) 891-9989.
The DHHS Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program is available to provide resources and education on tobacco products. For more information, contact the NH Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program at TPCP@dhhs.nh.gov or 603-271-6891.