You Must Now Be 21 To Buy All Tobacco Products In The US

by Julie Scagell

The new law raises the legal age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21

The new law raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products in the U.S. to 21 years from 18 is now official, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports. With vaping and e-cig deaths and complications, especially with teen users, constantly making news — this is welcome legislation.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration updated its official page to say, “On December 20, 2019, the President signed legislation to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and 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.”

Last week, President Donald Trump signed the new minimum age into law as part of a $1.4 trillion bipartisan package that Congress passed and Trump signed and was introduced in May by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Tim Kaine. It was already illegal in several states including California, New York, Texas, Hawaii, Illinois, and others to sell tobacco products to people under 21, but this bill will make it illegal in all states.

Trump has been vocal about raising the age for tobacco sales amid continued reports of vaping-related illnesses and deaths.“We have to take care of our kids, most importantly, so we’re going to have an age limit of 21 or so,” Trump said in a press conference last month.

According to the CDC, more than 450 people have developed lung-related illnesses in 2019, but the numbers continue to increase. The FDA issued a warning in 2018, calling vaping among teens “an epidemic.” The CDC also reported at least 39 deaths and 2,051 lung injuries have been linked to e-cigarette use. So far, the tobacco industry appears to support the new restrictions.

“We applaud congressional efforts to prohibit the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21 and urge the President to sign this bill. The Vapor Technology Association has advocated for raising the age to 21 for all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, and believes, along with the public health groups, that this is the most significant step that can be taken to reduce youth access and use,” Tony Abboud, executive director of the Vapor Technology Association, said before the bill was passed in an emailed statement to CNN.

Some online pointed out how ridiculous it is that you can enlist in the army or buy a gun at 18, but you can’t buy tobacco until you’re 21.

However, in March 2015, a report from the National Academy of Medicine revealed that raising the tobacco purchasing age to 21 could prevent 223,000 deaths among people born between 2000 and 2019, including reducing lung cancer deaths by 50,000, and that’s something we can support.