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It is now illegal for retailers to sell tobacco to anyone under 21, FDA says

Posted at 11:15 AM, Dec 27, 2019

It is now illegal for any retailer to sell tobacco products — including cigarettes, cigars and electronic cigarettes — to anyone under 21 years old, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA officially changed the federal minimum age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21 after President Donald Trump approved the provision as part of a $1.4 trillion spending package he signed December 20.

"As required by the legislation, @US_FDA intends to publish a final rule updating its current regulations solely to carry out the amendments made by the legislation within 180 days," the FDA Center for Tobacco Products said on Twitter on December 21. "FDA will provide additional details on this issue as they become available."

The smoking age increase comes after Tobacco 21 laws were already enacted in 19 states and Washington, D.C., according to the latest tally from the American Lung Association. Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Washington already had laws in place that prohibited retailers from selling tobacco products to anyone younger than 21.

In addition, at least 470 cities and counties also had their own Tobacco 21 laws, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an advocacy organization.

The legislation to raise the smoking age received bipartisan support.