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Montana health departments watching for impacts from new smoking laws

Posted at 8:06 PM, Dec 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-31 12:32:52-05

Public health leaders in Montana say they will be watching the effects on tobacco use as a new federal law raises the age from 18 to 21 to purchase tobacco products.

Nate Wellington with Lewis and Clark Public Health explained how cigarettes are harmful to under aged users.

“Nicotine addiction is real, and … it’s unsafe for people under 18 to be using," said Wellington.

Public health officials say it's too early to tell what impact it could have on local resources for people who want to quit.

However, program leaders say they are seeing continued interest.

There are four separate tobacco quit line services in Montana, including the "My Life My Quit" program aimed at teens.

According to these programs, raising the age to 21 could help limit access since 18-year-old students were able to buy those products legally.

“With this whole vaping epidemic and stuff like that, we’ve seen that a lot of youth do want to quit, and that’s really awesome,” said Wellington.

The state of Montana is also enforcing anemergency ban on flavored vaping products aiming to reduce the number of teens who vape.