The Massachusetts house has approved raising the age for purchasing tobacco to 21.
This is a hot button issue that has many people speaking out, including a group of local teenagers who want to put an end to smoking.
One local teen has been actively pursuing this issue for months, and even marched in Boston for the cause.
While her passion is unwavering, there is still another step before the bill becomes a law
"It’s not just effecting them, it’s effecting me, and it’s effecting how schools are looking at things," said Iaziah Ceaser.
The bill cleared the house Wednesday with an overwhelming 146 to 4 vote.
Students like laziah Ceaser marched to the state house last fall in support of the bill.
"It was powerful. I feel like our message definitely got out there," said Ceaser.
The legislation is designed to discourage teen smoking and ban vaping on school grounds and other public places, and prohibit tobacco sales in pharmacies.
The bill includes cigarettes and vaping products that have recently surged in popularity.
"It’s very common because they look like pens or usb drives. So when you’re in school, the teachers don’t think anything of it," Ceaser noted.
Currently, there are 19 communities in western Massachusetts who have ordinances raising the tobacco sale age to 21.
There are also five states, including Maine, that have raised the age.
Senator Eric Lesser has been vocal about this issue.
He told Western Mass News in a statement,"it has been inspiring to see this effort led by high schoolers in Springfield who successfully lobbied their city council."
"We must take serious action to keep our young people safe from a public health hazard we have known about for a very long time," Lesser continued.
"I feel like it’s targeting young people and I’m part of that generation," Ceaser added.
The bill would not make it a crime for people under the age of 21 to use tobacco.
Now, the next stop for the bill is the senate.
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