‘Up in smoke’– Nashua legal nicotine age hike fails, 6-7

Telegraph photo by MATHEW PLAMONDON Members of the Nashua Board of Aldermen debated the ordinance that would change the legal age for tobacco and other nicotine products from 18 to 21 well into the evening Tuesday. The ordinance ultimately failed, 6-7.

NASHUA – After months of public debate, members of a divided Board of Aldermen spent more than three hours Tuesday evening arguing whether to increase Nashua’s legal age for tobacco and other nicotine products from 18 to 21.

When the smoke cleared late Tuesday, members rejected the ordinance by a vote of 6-7.

As written, this Nashua ordinance would prohibit anyone under age 21 from using, purchasing, selling or even possessing cigarettes, cigars, Skoal, chewing tobacco, or any type of vaping product. An initial violation would result in a fine of up to $50. Subsequent citations could go as high as $100. It would take effect 90 days after passage.

Members voting in favor of increasing the legal nicotine age from 18 to 21 Tuesday were:

• Richard Dowd

• Thomas Lopez

• Shoshanna Kelly

• Ernest Jette

• Mary Ann Melizzi-Golja

• David Tencza

Members voting against the ordinance Tuesday were:

• Michael O’Brien

• Linda Harriott-Gathright

• Patricia Klee

• June Caron

• Jan Schmidt

• Ben Clemons

• Lori Wilshire

Not recording votes on this ordinance Tuesday were members:

• Ken Gidge

• Brandon Laws

Some proposed amendments city officials had discussed prior to Tuesday included removing the possession restriction to just prohibit sales, purchase, distribution and use; grandfathering in those who already are between the ages of 18 and 20 so they would be exempt from the regulation; and exempting online, mail, or telephone sales by which the delivery of the product would be to people in a jurisdiction where it is legal to do this.

The proposed amendments would also include alternatives to the fines, such as participating in an education program or doing some sort of community service.

Because of The Telegraph’s print deadline, this morning’s report is abbreviated. More details will be available in the Thursday edition.