Legal age to buy cigarettes now 21 but situation is hazy

From Herald sources

If you’re not yet 21 years old and you bought tobacco products Thursday or anytime before that, you may find things have changed.

Or have they?

There’s still some confusion about whether the increase from 18 to 21 in the nationwide legal age to buy tobacco products is in effect.

President Donald Trump last week signed into legislation the $1.4 trillion government spending package which, among other things, provided for the age increase to buy tobacco products, a provision buried in the 2,371 pages of the two-bill package.

So it should be pretty well cut and dried.

But there seems to be uncertainty as to when the law goes into effect.

While most reports indicate the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has six months from the Dec. 20 date Trump signed the legislation to amend its policies — and then the minimum age change would take place within 90 days — the FDA website now reads: “It is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product – including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes – to anyone under 21.” The FDA website says it was updated Dec. 20, and the FDA said it will provide additional details as they become available.

But the FDA confirmed in a Dec. 21 tweet that it will update its regulations and submit a final rule within 180 days.

Not surprisingly, not all retailers may be aware of the change ... or the impending change ... or whatever it is.

The new regulation comes amid nationwide concern about increasing nicotine use among young people and the possible health risks of electronic cigarette products.

The new minimum age applies to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vaping cartridges.

So, if you’re used to buying tobacco products and you’re not yet 21 years old, don’t be surprised if you’re turned away the next time you try to make a purchase. Or maybe you’ll still be able to buy until next fall. Who really knows?

The new regulation comes amid nationwide concern about increasing nicotine use among young people and the possible health risks of electronic cigarette products.




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