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In reaction to two New Hampshire communities, Dover and Keene, who adopted Tobacco 21 legislation, State Sen. Harold F. French introduced a state bill to keep the state’s vaping rules status quo.

French’s goal was to maintain the state’s legal age of purchasing and possessing nicotine-based and vaping products at 18 years old, according to sentinelsource.com.

“First off, I don’t think they have the right to do it, because it’s something that’s regulated by the state,” French was quoted as saying. “Secondly, I’ve got constituents that go to Keene, that are under 21 years old, that wouldn’t necessarily know that there was a problem.

“And to avoid mass confusion in New Hampshire, we have laws that are consistent with one another from municipality to municipality. So, therefore, these cities and towns cannot do it, and I put forward the legislation so they know they cannot do it.”

The initial hearing on French’s bill was staged Jan. 23 before the Municipal Affairs Committee and Senate Public in Concord, N.H.

In tune with the state’s famous mantra – “Live Free or Die” – French said he relates to local health concerns for raising the legal age. The lawmaker is simply concerned with “Big Brother” having too much say in an individual’s life, sentinelsource.com reported.

“This issue is not smoking, or whether you should smoke,” French said. “It’s whether the towns have the right to raise the age to 21, 31, 41, 51.”

If the committees grant approval, the bill next would head to the state Senate. If approved on the floor, its journey would continue to the state House and then the desk of Gov. Chris Sununu.

French’s debate was grounded in keeping state-wide continuity with its laws and regulations in regards to smoking and e-cigarettes.

“That was my concern: Dover did it, Keene did it, so we have this patchwork across the state,” he said. “Imagine that you’re in the military, you’re 19 or 20 years old, and you just got home from Iraq or Afghanistan or wherever you were. You happen to smoke, and you’re going through that town, and now you’re breaking laws as you go from one town to the next?

“It doesn’t make sense.”

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