The Legal Age To Purchase Tobacco Products In The U.S. Is Now 21 Nationwide

The new law includes vaporizer products, such as Juul.

a young man smoking a cigarette
Vitabello / Pixabay

The new law includes vaporizer products, such as Juul.

Adults who wish to purchase tobacco products — including vaping products — in the United States must now be at least 21 years of age to do so in all 50 states, CNN reports. The new law was passed by President Donald Trump last week but didn’t go into effect until today.

Last week, Trump’s signature authorized a spending bill that included language addressing the legal age to purchase tobacco products nationwide. At the time of signing, the law didn’t specify when the new rules regarding the age requirement to purchase tobacco products would come into place. However, on Friday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on its website that the rules are now in place and effective immediately.

“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. FDA will provide additional details on this issue as they become available,” the announcement reads in part.

Efforts to increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco products have received wide bipartisan support. Republicans Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Mitt Romney of Utah, and Todd Young of Indiana, as well as Democrats Dick Durbin of Illinois and Tim Kaine of Virginia, and Brian Schatz of Hawaii, all favored raising the federal smoking age.

a young woman smokes a cigarette
  Free-Photos / Pixabay

Donald Trump, for his part, also signaled enthusiasm for raising the federal smoking age in a tweet he published shortly before signing the bill.

Even before Trump had signed the legislation, several states had already raised their own legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21. Those states included Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

Similarly, Washington, D.C., and more than 500 other cities and towns have also raised the minimum age to 21.

The move comes after a summer that saw thousands of people get sick, and some even died, from a mysterious illness that reportedly resulted from vaping — that is, the use of electronic devices that burn an oil containing nicotine or, in some cases, marijuana.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the illness prompted discussions about how makers of electronic vaporizer products make cartridges that have flavors, such as bubble gum or watermelon, raising concerns that they were marketed to children. However, the source of the mystery illness turned out to have been counterfeit marijuana cartridges sold on the black market and not nicotine cartridges.