Raising Legal Age for Tobacco Purchases

Despite the potential public health benefits of tobacco laws,21 municipalities must consider several legal considerations before passing such legislation. This article provides brief background information on tobacco laws21 before examining the relevant legal landscape and making policy recommendations. Last week, President Donald Trump signed the new minimum age into law as part of a comprehensive spending bill. On Friday, the FDA noted on its website that it is now illegal for a retailer to sell tobacco products «including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes» to people under the age of 21. The FDA will provide more details on this issue as they become available. Raising the minimum age for tobacco sales to 21 is quickly proving to be a promising approach to reducing tobacco use among youth.1,2 Since 2013, more than 100 U.S. cities and towns have passed laws setting 21 as the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products («Tobacco 21 laws»).3 Like the mayor at the time, Michael. Bloomberg explained that when he signed New York`s Tobacco 21 Act in 2013, these laws were effective because they «prevent young people from experimenting with tobacco when they are most likely to become addicted.» 4 In July 1992, Congress enacted the Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration Reorganization Act, which included an amendment to reduce adolescents` access to tobacco products. This amendment, named after its sponsor, Congressman Mike Synar of Oklahoma, required U.S. states and territories to pass and enforce laws prohibiting the sale or distribution of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18 in order to receive federal subsidies for drug abuse.5 Effective immediately, Retailers will not be permitted to sell tobacco products to persons under the age of 21.

The FDA recognizes that the agency and some retailers need to update current practices to implement this new law, as the FDA needs time to reach and educate retailers and update the agency`s programmatic work to reflect this change in the law. During this transition period, the FDA expects retailers to comply with the law and take steps to ensure that a person purchasing a tobacco product is 21 years of age or older, including manual verification of ID cards if necessary. However, during this ramp-up period, the FDA will continue to use only minors under the age of 18 in its compliance verification program. Tobacco 21 is an important part of a comprehensive public health approach to tobacco reduction. In addition to Tobacco 21, we must eliminate all flavoured tobacco products, stop online (remote) sales, and increase taxes on all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. In addition, the FDA must begin reviewing all e-cigarettes, hookahs, cigars, and pipe tobacco. In addition, Tobacco 21 bills do not raise any potential First Amendment issues, unlike laws that restrict tobacco advertising or marketing. The First Amendment has become a privileged legal instrument of the tobacco industry, and many tobacco-related laws have been repealed for First Amendment reasons.16 However, because the Tobacco 21 laws govern commercial transactions rather than advertising or any other communicative behavior that could be classified as speech, they are not vulnerable to the challenges of the First Amendment.

A 2015 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that 75% of the American public, including 70% of current smokers, supported a minimum age to buy tobacco of 21. «To reverse the e-cigarette epidemic, policymakers must ban flavored e-cigarettes and cannot be limited by what the tobacco industry deems acceptable,» Myers said. «The evidence is clear that flavoured e-cigarettes are causing the epidemic among young people. Most teenage e-cigarette users use flavored products and cite flavorings as the main reason for their use. As long as flavored e-cigarettes remain available, children will find ways to get them, and this epidemic will continue. Instead, the responsibility is placed on retailers and usually enforced through fines. A new law in the U.S. banning the sale of tobacco products to people under the age of 21 is now in effect, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Includes all types of tobacco products: cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, electronic nicotine delivery systems (including e-cigarettes) and hookah.

In 2015, the Institute of Medicine released a report concluding that raising the minimum age to sell tobacco to 21 would reduce smoking initiation by 25 percent among 15- to 17-year-olds nationwide and 15 percent among 18- to 20-year-olds. This reduction in the occurrence of smoking would result in nearly 250,000 fewer premature deaths among people born between 2000 and 2019.5 Other models have also predicted that tobacco laws21 would significantly increase overall life expectancy while reducing health care costs.6,7 What explains these remarkable results? Opponents of tobacco laws21 have argued that most young people do not buy their cigarettes in stores; Therefore, an increase in the age of purchase would have little effect. However, this argument overlooks an important point: the minority of young people who buy cigarettes in stores then serve as the main source of tobacco for other young people.8 Most middle and high school smokers receive cigarettes from their peers or give money to someone to buy cigarettes for them.9 The Tobacco 21 laws place legal buyers outside the social circle of most middle and high school students. secondary. The laws also make it difficult for 16- and 17-year-olds to pass off as legal buyers and then serve as social providers for their friends. Kessel Schneider and colleagues suggest that these effects are probably responsible for the results at Needham. They found that Needham`s Law both reduced the purchase of minors and disrupted the «social availability» of cigarettes for youth who would otherwise have experimented with smoking.2 Federal T21 does not prevent state, local, tribal, or territorial governments from passing legislation that is more restrictive than federal law, including increasing MLSA for tobacco products over the age of 21.