Maine is now the fourth state that raised their Legal Smoking Age from 18 years of age to 21. Gov. Paul LePage, who opposed the bill, vetoed it but the House and the Senate members voted to override the veto. California, Hawaii, and New Jersey are the first three states that raised the legal smoking age to 21 from 18. Maine’s bill will take effect on July 1, 2018.

Opponents raise concerns after bill was passed

Some of the lawmakers who oppose the bill said that once the legal smoking age is raised to 21 from 18 years of age, there will be a black market for the product since those who are below 21 will not be able to buy it legally.

The main concern regarding the black market is the possibility that consumers could buy from black market drug dealers. Once this comes into play, these drug dealers could offer the buyer not just cigarette but also drugs, which could lead to drug abuse in the future.

LePage said that the governor’s concern was mainly on the restriction on the rights of the adults in the state as well as the impact of the bill on groceries and convenience stores since there will be fewer consumers, Fortune reported. According to The New York Times, LePage also countered that if 18-year-olds are allowed to join the military and fight in wars, they should also be allowed to decide whether or not they want to buy cigarettes.

Senator Paul Davis comments on LePage’s military comment

Senator Paul Davis, Republican, wrote the bill and commented on LePage’s statement regarding 18-year-old’s joining the military.

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Davis said that the military does not have 15-year-old’s and the point of the legislation was to prevent teens from this age group from buying cigarettes, which are readily available in schools.

Maine bill on cigarette smoking also covers e-cigarettes

The new bill in Maine will also cover e-cigarettes, hookah pipes, and other smoking accessories. These are popular among teens in the state.

Teen smoking is one of the top concerns in the United States. Around 5.6 million Americans younger than 18 years of age will reportedly die early due to smoking and from smoking-related illnesses. One out of every 13 Americans below 18 years of age could be affected by the projected outcome reported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although tobacco use in teens has dropped in Maine, the state is still reportedly one of the top areas where high schoolers smoke cigarettes. What are your thoughts on this? Comment below!