In signing the 2019 national defense spending bill into law on Friday, December 20th, U.S. President Donald Trump also passed several attached resolutions; one of these resolutions makes age 21 the new nation-wide minimum age for purchase of tobacco and vapor products.
Trump tweeted on Friday:
Previous to Friday, 19 states had made age 21 the minimum tobacco and vapor purchase age, including
Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. Additionally, more than 500 cities and unincorporated areas had done likewise. But the patchwork nature of which cities, counties and states had passed the measure but whose neighbors had not made enforcement problematic. After all, it’s not entirely effective for Smalltown to mandate age 21 for tobacco purchases if teenagers can just drive to Littleburg and legally buy their smokes or vapes there.
Back in November, Trump said:
“We have to take care of our kids, most importantly, so we’re going to have an age limit of 21 or so, so we’ll be coming out with something next week very important on vaping.”
Nationwide “Tobacco 21” is a step back from the nationwide flavor ban Trump briefly considered before intense and vocal opposition from the vaping community pressured him to reconsider. “Tobacco 21”, on the other hand, is largely embraced by vapor advocacy organizations. One such organization is the Vapor Technology Association, whose Executive Director Tony Abboud said the following on Friday:
“We applaud congressional efforts to prohibit the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21 and urge the President to sign this bill. The Vapor Technology Association has advocated for raising the age to 21 for all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, and believes, along with the public health groups, that this is the most significant step that can be taken to reduce youth access and use.”