Tobacco Purchases Now Restricted to 21 or Older Nationwide

There has been some confusion regarding recent laws related to the new legal age to buy tobacco products in the United States. While it is a federal law that was enacted, it is now illegal for anyone, including individuals in Michigan, under the age of 21 to buy cigarettes, cigars or other tobacco products across the U.S. 

Put into place by Congress and signed by the President a few weeks ago, electronic cigarettes and vaping products that contain nicotine, fall under the new law as well. In order to protect the next generation from becoming addicted to tobacco products, the age was raised from 18 to 21 nationwide. Although one-third of states had already placed their own laws restricting sales to people 21 and older, this new legislation took effect right away due to simply increasing the age limit of an existing law. 

Advocates of anti-smoking laws believe that this new age limit should make access to tobacco products more difficult for students in high school where older classmates or friends were buying for them. Stores in violation can be fined or barred from selling tobacco if repeated. 

In more tobacco related news, the Michigan Supreme Court says it won’t take an expedited appeal from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in a dispute over flavored e-cigarettes. The court says any appeal should follow a traditional course to the Court of Appeals. 

In October, a Court of Claims judge blocked Governor Whitmer’s ban on flavored e-cigarettes, saying health officials can’t justify shortcuts to adopt the new regulations.

The judge also expressed concern about the impact on adults who might be vaping to avoid regular cigarettes. Whitmer said the ban was necessary to keep flavored e-cigarettes away from teens. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 52 deaths in 26 states are among the 2,409 hospitalized cases that have been reported across the nation this year due to vaping.

Reporting for WGRT, Karly Hurley.