The United States Food and Drug Administration has announced that it would be now illegal for retailers to sell tobacco products to consumers younger than 21 years. The move comes even as the agency has six months to finalize the Tobacco 21 law. Retailers won’t be allowed to sell tobacco products to buyers under 21 years old. The age limit was earlier fixed as 18 years. The provision came after President Donald Trump signed legislation increasing the federal minimum age from 18 to 21. The legislation was signed on December 20 and also included USD 25 million for gun violence research and USD 1.4 billion for building a wall at the US-Mexico border.
Earlier, some news reports had claimed that the shift in the legal age was expected to be implemented in roughly nine months. But the agency has put a message on its website announcing the change. The legislation was signed on December 20, 2019. “With this, the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco or its products has been raised from 18 to 21 years,” the agency stated. The agency has said in the statement that it will provide additional details on the issue once they become available. Tobacco products include cigars, vaping cartridges, and e-cigarettes, etc.
It was introduced in May by Senate Majority Leader Senator Tim Kaine, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, and D-Va. According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, nineteen states and the District of Columbia have already raised the minimum age limit. Also, more than 530 municipalities and counties of 31 states had given a green signal for similar measures. The National Association of Convenience Stores said that the law should contemplate providing clear direction to retailers. NACS said that retailers should be aware of what documents required to verify the age of any purchaser. South Dakota Retailers Association has also asked people to abide by FDA law, even though it has not been updated to align with federal law.