AUGUSTA – Maine lawmakers took another step Monday to make it harder for youths to get their hands on cigarettes.
A bill that received initial Senate approval prohibits minors from entering tobacco specialty shops unless accompanied by a parent. LD 885 also would impose the same restrictions on who can sell tobacco products in retail stores as those already in effect for the sale of alcohol.
A series of measures taken by the state is linked to the reduction of Maine’s youth smoking rate by 48 percent between 1997 and 2003.
Besides increasing cigarette taxes, the state has bolstered identification checking and other safeguards against sales of tobacco to youths and increased advertising and school smoking-prevention programs.
The bill that advanced Monday faces further House and Senate votes.