LAKEVILLE, Minn.— This spring, five states are on the verge of passing or have passed laws to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21—making the total 11 states—with 12 more states actively moving toward making a similar change.
Arkansas, Illinois, Utah, Virginia and Washington state either passed or were in the final stages of passing legislation, joining California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Oregon, whose laws to raise the minimum-buying age were all in effect as of 2018, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an anti-smoking group based in Washington, D.C.
Actions on raising excise taxes and limiting the sale of flavored-tobacco products were also occurring in state legislatures across the country, according to tobacco retailing association NATO, Lakeville, Minn.
Here’s a summary of that activity …
In a new burst of activity on the legal-age front, lawmakers in Arkansas, Illinois, Utah, Virginia and Washington are in the last stages of passing or have recently passed laws to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21. Other states that are developing similar legislation: Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Texas and Pennsylvania.
Ten states are moving to change excise-tax rates on several tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars and vaping products. Those states are Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin, according to NATO.
Banning, restricting flavors
Some sort of ban or restriction on flavored products and more specifically e-cigarettes was occurring in two states: California and Connecticut.
On a federal level, two separate bills, one in the House and one in the Senate, both seek to prohibit the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, with the exception of tobacco flavor, NATO said.