Vermont House Passes Smoking Age Increase

Montpelier, April 6 —  A proposed raise of the tobacco smoking age from 18 to 21 was successfully voted out of the Vermont House of Representatives on Wednesday. The bill, HB 93, would impose new taxes on cigarettes to make up the revenue difference from reduced cigarette sales. Representatives Kesha Ram of Burlington and Samuel Young of Glover proposed an amendment which would have required 95 percent of the revenue from the new tax to fund programs that help people stop smoking or prevent new smokers from starting. The amendment also called for additional government spending on these programs. “We’ve raised significant amounts of money from tobacco users, but we are doing very little to help them quit,” Rep. Young said. “At the heart of this, it is an issue about spending money,” Rep. Mitzi Johnson, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said of the proposed amendment.