The FDA says it is already illegal to sell tobacco products to people under 21

Peter Weber

A $1.4 trillion spending package President Trump signed into law Dec. 20 contained a provision ordering the Food and Drug Administration to raise the federal age to purchase tobacco products to 21, from 18, after six months of policy-crafting and a 90-day transition period. Well, the FDA isn't waiting until the fall of 2021. It's website already says "it is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product — including cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes — to anyone under 21."

The FDA's speedy policy shift, noticed Thursday by USA Today and other news organizations, was actually posted on Dec. 20 and tweeted out the following day. The spending package amended the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and the FDA says on its site that "if you sell tobacco products, you must comply with all applicable federal laws and regulations for retailers." For any confused retailers, the FDA says it "will provide additional details on this issue as they become available."

In 19 states and the District of Columbia, this shouldn't be an issue because the smoking age is already 21, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

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