The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has officially changed the federal minimum age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21.
The new minimum age applies to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vaping cartridges.
President Donald Trump approved a massive spending bill, capping off a week of impeachment proceeding with a rare bipartisan move.
The provision came as part of a $1.4 trillion spending package signed by President Donald Trump Dec. 20, which amended the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which also included $1.4 billion reserved for building the U.S.-Mexico border wall and $25 million for gun violence research.
It had bipartisan support, being introduced in May by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.
What was unclear in the proposal, however, when the change in the minimum age would be enacted. From the date of Trump signed the legislation, the FDA has six months to finalize the federal Tobacco 21 law, the agency announced it is now illegal for retailers to sell any tobacco product to consumers under 21 years old.
However, the agency posted a message on its website announcing the new legal age is now in effect.
“On Dec. 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. FDA will provide additional details on this issue as they become available,” the agency stated.
According to NACS, the law contemplates a regulation to provide retailers with clear direction on the new rules, including a requirement to verify the age of any purchaser under the age of 30. However, the law does not require a delay in the shift to 21.
“While there are unanswered questions about when FDA plans to enforce this requirement and whether the agency can legally enforce it before updating its regulations, retailers should be aware that FDA views any sale to a person under 21 as a violation of the new law,” the association said.
Before Trump signed the Tobacco 21 measure, which was part of spending bills approved by Congress, 19 states and Washington, D.C., had passed legislation increasing the minimum legal age to buy tobacco products to 21. In addition, more than 530 municipalities and counties in 31 states had approved similar measures.
More about Tobacco 21 Law:
- US Schools’Association backs bill proposing to raise nationwide tobacco age to 21
- Indiana: Holcomb Proposes Raising Tobacco, E-Cigarette Buying Age to 21
- Congress Set to Raise Tobacco and E-Cigarette Age to 21
- U.S.: Congress Is Raising the Minimum Smoking and Vaping Age to 21
- U.S.: President Donald Trump Signs Bill Raising Legal Age to Buy Vaping and Tobacco Products to 21