The new law raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products in the U.S. to 21 years from 18 is officially on the books.
“It is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product ― including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes ― to anyone under 21,” the federal Food and Drug Administration FDA said on its website.
The change was part of the bipartisan $1.4 trillion spending package that Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed into law earlier this month.
Several states already had passed laws making it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase tobacco products.
Hawaii became the first state in recent years to ban people under the age of 21 from buying, possessing and consuming or smoking tobacco, with its law taking effect at the start of 2016.
Eighteen other states ― including California, New York, Texas and Illinois ― followed suit and passed similar legislation, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
Trump expressed support for raising the age for tobacco sales earlier this year as vaping products, especially ones with kid-friendly flavors, have become increasingly popular with teens but also have been linked to respiratory illnesses and some deaths.
One survey of 19,018 participants published in November found that 27.5% of high school students in the survey reported using e-cigarettes. And for middle school students, the figure was 10.5%.
“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 at the time.
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