AUGUSTA – Individuals must now be over 21 years old to buy tobacco in Maine, unless they turned 18 as of July 1.

Maine joins California, New Jersey, Hawaii and Oregon in raising the legal age for using and buying tobacco products from 18 to 21.

Lawmakers last year overrode Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of a bill prohibiting the sale of tobacco and tobacco products such as e-cigarettes to individuals under the age of 21. The governor argued that adults who are old enough to serve in the military are old enough to decide whether they want to purchase such products.

The American Cancer Society estimated that 2,400 Maine adults die from smoking each year and that smoking directly causes $811 million in Maine health care costs.

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