Breaking down the new tobacco law raising legal age to 21

Pixabay/MGN Online photo
Pixabay/MGN Online photo(KALB)
Published: Dec. 30, 2019 at 4:00 PM EST
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The FDA announced that the federal minimum age to buy tobacco is going up from 18 to 21 years old, but there are still many questions surrounding the law.

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump signed the new minimum age into law as part of a sweeping spending bill. The law is now in effect, which means it's illegal for any store to sell any tobacco product, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes or cigars, to anyone under the age of 21.

It's not clear what the penalties will be for selling to people between 18 and 21. Right now, the laws for selling to kids under 18 vary state to state.

It's still unclear what tobacco users, between 18 and 21, who want to quit will be able to do. Some are worried they won't be able to buy products to help them because rules for those gums and patches have always mirrored the minimum smoking age.

Answers are expected within the next six months. FDA Tobacco tweeted it intends to publish a final rule updating regulations within the next 180 days. Those new rules will then take effect no more than 90 days after that announcement.

A big reason for creating new legislation is the youth vaping epidemic. According to, teen e-cigarette users are 30 percent more likely to start smoking than non e-cigarette users.

President Trump hinted more laws could be coming to try and stop that epidemic. We'll continue to keep you up to date on this law and bring you those changes.