Tobacco

The N.H. Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would raise the age for buying, using or possessing tobacco products in the state to 21.

Senate Bill 248 would align state rules on buying the products — including e-cigarettes — with recently changed federal law.

On Dec. 20, President Donald Trump signed into law a change to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that raises the age nationwide to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21. The federal law doesn’t address the age for possessing the products.

The Senate voted for the change, 16-8, with local legislators Sen. Jay Kahn, D-Keene, and Sen. Martha Hennessey, D-Hanover, whose district includes Charlestown, as co-sponsors.

Keene’s City Council raised the age to buy, possess and use tobacco products in the city to 21 in December 2018. State law allows municipalities to pass stricter laws related to the sale and possession of tobacco products.

Legislation had been proposed in the Statehouse to raise the age to 21 last year, but that effort didn’t go anywhere. A measure to raise the age from 18 to 19 was added into the compromise budget Gov. Chris Sununu signed in September.

The bill next heads to the N.H. House.