On December 20, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an amendment to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act,media outlet Slash Gear reported. Part of the amendment includes raising the legal age for buying tobacco products in the United States from 18 to 21. As early as 2016, states such as Hawaii raised the legal age for buying tobacco products to 21, and in 2019, the last state to raise the legal age for buying tobacco products was New York (effective November 13, 2019).
As of December 2019, 19 U.S. states have raised the legal age for buying tobacco products to 21. These laws are separate from the legislation signed on 20 December. Amendments to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act would cover states that have not yet raised their age to 21.
“We thank Congress and @POTUS for their commitment to reducing smoking-related illnesses and deaths and preventing young people from becoming addicted to nicotine,” said DR. Stephen M. Hahn, fda director. “As we update the regulations to enforce this legal provision, there will be more details. “
Dr. Hahn became FDA Director on December 19, 2019. Hahn tweeted on December 20:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senator Tim Kaine (Democrat) of Virginia have introduced bills that raise the legal age for buying tobacco. The latest move to raise the legal age for buying tobacco products, known as the Tobacco-Free Youth Act, is the Tobacco 21 Measure, which was included in the spending bill signed in December.
States that currently raise the legal age for buying tobacco products in the United States to 21 include:
Hawaii (as of January 1, 2016)
New York (as of November 13, 2019)
States that raise the legal age for buying tobacco products to 21 in the near future include:
Washington (effective January 1, 2020)
Pennsylvania (effective July 1, 2020)
Utah (effective July 1, 2020)
The legislation signed on 20 December includes amendments to section 906 (d) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (21 USC 387f(d). It removed “paragraph 3” from the Act (mainly with regard to the minimum age under 18 years of age) and replaced it with a number of articles, including:
“It is illegal for any retailer, manufacturer, distributor, third party market or any other commercial entity to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21. “
The legislation signed on 20 December 2019 also includes the following: “Within 180 days of the date of the Enactment of the Turnaround of the Adolescent Tobacco Epidemic Act 2019, the Minister shall enact a final regulation to implement and enforce the following: paragraphs A and B are “limited” (under 21 years of age) and “age verification”.
The FDA’s official guidelines appear to require retailers to comply immediately with the new age limit.
It is worth noting that as of the time of writing (December 27 local time), the FDA has not updated its “FDA Age Calculator” app on its Google Play or Apple App Store. As a result, these applications still set 18 as the federal legal age for buying tobacco products.