Connecticut in change

Connecticut’s minimum wage and tobacco purchasing age both increased Oct. 1

By on October 2, 2019

Changes to Connecticut law went into effect Tuesday, Oct. 1, and some of these changes will affect students.

Two of the biggest changes in the law include an increase in both the minimum wage and tobacco purchasing age.

The minimum wage in Connecticut is raising from $10.10 an hour to $11 an hour. Each year the minimum wage will continue to increase until it reaches $15 an hour in 2023.

Emily DiSalvo | The Quinnipiac Chronicle
“This is perhaps one of the most impactful pieces of legislation for working families that a governor can sign, and I am proud to place my signature on this law because it is the right thing to do,” Governor Ned Lamont said. “With this new law, thousands of hardworking women and men – many of whom are supporting families – will get a modest increase that will help lift them out of poverty, combat persistent pay disparities between races and genders, and stimulate our economy.”

For Quinnipiac students from the surrounding states, this increase brings working students’ income closer to the rates they make at home.

“Mainly everyone here is from Massachusetts, New York, different states which have [a] higher minimum wage which is where we live so it is what we are used to,” Stephanie Morrow, sophomore marketing major, said.

Coming to Quinnipiac from Massachusetts, Morrow said she is used to a minimum wage of $12 an hour, so going down to $10.10 is a jump for her. The new law is meant to help close the pay gap for different races and genders.

However, not everyone sees the raise as a completely good thing.

“I think there is a bit of a negative side to it because it probably means that the cost of living is going up which is a little bit concerning as a lot of things are getting expensive,” Avery Daly, freshman journalism major, said.

While Daly saw the downsides to the minimum wage raise, she said that she thinks it will be beneficial for the most part, leaving Connecticut workers some extra pocket change.

The Connecticut tobacco purchasing age raised from 18 to 21. This includes cigarettes, cigars, vaping pens and other tobacco products.

While the change is meant to limit the number of youth that can purchase tobacco products, not everyone agrees that the law will improve things.

Morrow said that she thinks changing the age is unnecessary, knowing that the youth will find ways around it.

“If you are 18, you are going to know someone who is 21 and you can easily access it and that’s just going to provide more problems,” Morrow said.

“I think it will just put tobacco in a black market lighting,” Daly said. “People will still find ways to do it even though it might just be a little bit harder.”

However, Daly said that she thinks the increase in the minimum age is a good precaution.

“I think it is better for the younger kids because there were a lot of kids that were already juuling,” Ryan O’Connor, sophomore nursing major, said. “I’m talking like 14, 15 years old so it will be harder for them to get.”

Lamont says that the laws will help the state of Connecticut get in line with modern medical data.

“Many decades ago when most of our laws surrounding tobacco products were written, the medical evidence on the impact the substance has, particularly on young people and the ongoing development of their brains, did not exist. Continuing the enforcement of outdated laws just because that’s the way it’s always been is not a good enough reason for why they should continue to reflect outdated perceptions,” Governor Lamont said. “With the rising use of e-cigarettes and vaping products among young people, we are seeing a growing public health crisis and it’s time that we addressed it.”

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