The City of Dover is the first city in New Hampshire to be make it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase, possess or use tobacco products. Members of Dover Youth to Youth brought forward the resolution and asked Mayor Karen Weston to sponsor it, which she agreed to. Three members of Dover Youth to Youth, Hannah Martuscello, Olivia Malone and Elsa Rogers spoke on behalf of the ordinance during its public hearing on June 27th 2018.
The City Council voted to approve the ordinance change on a 6-1 vote with Mayor Weston recusing as she herself owns a retail store that sells tobacco products. The current age statewide to purchase, use and possess tobacco products in NH is 18. However, the state law allows any county or municipality to adopt “local laws, ordinances and regulations that are more stringent” The new ordinance went into effect on July 4th. Click here to see WMUR coverage.
In February of 2018 the NH Senate voted to table a proposed state Tobacco 21 bill sponsored by Sen. David Watters, D-Dover who was working with Dover Youth to Youth. Maine has raised the age of purchase of tobacco to 21 and Massachusetts has more than 100 communities including Boston that have also raised the tobacco purchase age to 21. Watters said “within a year all the states around us will be tobacco 21 states.” and he vowed that next year “we’re going to pass this.”