Teenagers in New Hampshire were gasping at a new state law that slaps them with a $25 fine if police catch them smoking or in possession of cigarettes.
But New Hampshire Gov. Judd Gregg is breathing easier since he signed the bill into law Thursday because the major section of the law imposes a new tax on smokeless tobacco that is expected to bring in about $1 million in new revenues.The fine for those under the age of 18 caught smoking or in possession of cigarettes, adopted as an amendment to the tax bill, is $25 for a first offense and $50 for the second. Police in New Hampshire were already calling the teenage smoking provision of the law unenforceable.
"I think it really is a problem to enforce, and frankly, we have better things to do with our resources," said Louis J. Craig, chief of police in Manchester, the state's largest city.
Gregg said the teen smoking amendment was added to the tax measure by the smokeless tobacco lobby in an effort to get the state legislature to defeat the entire bill. He said he will urge the legislature to revoke the amendment in the next session.