Legal Age To Buy Tobacco Or Vaping Products In US Is Now 21
The changes, which also apply to electronic cigarettes and vaping products that heat a liquid containing nicotine, were enacted last week by Congress, as part of a huge, $1.4 trillion spending billed signed off by the president on 20 December.
On Friday the Food and Drink Administration announced on its website: "It is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product - including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes - to anyone under 21.
"FDA will provide additional details on this issue as they become available."
In a series of tweets, new FDA commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said last week: "Today, @POTUSsigned legislation to raise the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years. It is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product - including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes - to anyone under 21.
"This is a major step in protecting the next generation of children from becoming addicted to tobacco products. Tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, should never be marketed to, sold to, or used by kids.
"We appreciate Congress and @POTUS' dedication to reducing the disease and death caused by tobacco use and preventing young people from ever becoming addicted to nicotine. More details will be forthcoming as we update our regulations to carry out this provision of law."
This is a major step in protecting the next generation of children from becoming addicted to tobacco products. Tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, should never be marketed to, sold to, or used by kids.- Dr. Stephen M. Hahn (@SteveFDA) December 21, 2019
A spokesperson for the FDA explained that, as new legislation usually doesn't take effect straight away, but the changes have simply increased the age limit in existing law so it was able to be implemented immediately.
More Like ThisMore Like This
CBS also reports that around one-third of US states already had their own laws restricting the sale of tobacco to people aged 21 and over.
The agency, which has regulated tobacco products since 2009, enforces law in part through spot checks, often fining vendors for repeat violations, or barring them from selling tobacco.
While the move has been praised, some people have been quick to point out that it won't necessarily solve the youth e-cigarette epidemic.
Last week, Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said: "Raising the tobacco age to 21 is a positive step, but it is not a substitute for prohibiting the flavored e-cigarettes that are luring and addicting our kids," Myers said in part.
"To reverse the e-cigarette epidemic, policy makers must prohibit flavored e-cigarettes and cannot be limited by what the tobacco industry says is acceptable.
"The evidence is clear that flavored e-cigarettes are driving the youth epidemic. Most youth e-cigarette users use flavored products and cite flavors as a key reason for their use.
"As long as flavored e-cigarettes remain available, kids will find ways to get them and this epidemic will continue."
Featured Image Credit: PA