Some business owners and customers alike are finding out the hard way about a brand-new cigarette law that just went into effect in the United States: Now you have to be 21 years old before you can purchase tobacco products.
News of the law hadn’t made it to everyone by the turn of the new year. Sue Meyers, the owner of Sue’s Market in Pennsylvania, said, “I was surprised and shocked. A couple of customers came in and told me that it was age of 21. I would’ve never knew.”
She’s not the only one. Shop owners around the country have expressed their surprise at the law.
Officially known as the Tobacco 21 Law, the new nationwide law was signed in on December 20, 2019, and became official everywhere in the United States on January 1, 2020.
The American Lung Association has advocated for an increase in the minimum age for years and welcomes the news.
The organization has noted on its website that the law could have potentially prevented 223,000 smoking-related deaths if it had been in effect between 2000 and 2019.
The new law isn’t limited to only cigarettes. The American Lung Association stated, “Tobacco 21 is an important component of a comprehensive public health approach to reducing tobacco use. While Tobacco 21 is an important policy, because the youth vaping epidemic is at an all-time high, there is much more work to be done to save lives. In addition to Tobacco 21 we need to eliminate all flavored tobacco products, stop online (remote) sales and increase taxes on all tobacco products including e-cigarettes. In addition, FDA must begin its premarket review of all e-cigarettes, hookah, cigars and pipe tobacco.”
The change is definitely impacting how businesses like Sue’s work. She said, “I drilled into my employees real bad to card everybody. Because even if they know them, it could be a setup.”
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