Minimum Age for Legal Smoking
It is illegal for minors to buy, use or possess tobacco products in public Minors caught red-handed usually receive a warning or a $30 fine, with their school and parents informed and follow-up action taken by the school. Minors arrested more than once must attend at least two smoking cessation counseling sessions to aggravate their crimes. Minors who do not meet the above requirements, or if arrested four or more times, may be charged in court and, if convicted, fined up to $300.  Raising the minimum age for the sale of tobacco products to 21 years has been an important strategy to reduce smoking and other forms of smoking among youth. Raising the smoking age to 21 is part of a comprehensive strategy, along with other strong measures, including banning flavoured tobacco products, higher tobacco taxes, strong smoke-free laws, and sustainable, well-funded tobacco prevention and cessation programmes. About 250 children under the age of 18 become regular smokers every day – one in three dies at some point. We must do everything we can to prevent young people from smoking and save lives. Raising the smoking age to 21 will help achieve these goals. 20 IOM Bonnie 2015 – Bonnie RJ, Stratton K, Kwan LY. The public health impact of raising the minimum age of legal access to tobacco products.
Washington, DC: Institute of Medicine of the National Academies; 2015. 8 Yoruk 2016* – Yörük CE, Yörük BK. Do minimum legal laws for tobacco purchases work? Contemporary economic policy. 2016;34(3):415-429. A purchase age of 21 is consistent with alcohol laws. Raising the legal drinking age to 21 has helped reduce drunk driving deaths and reduce alcohol dependence among adolescents. The study found that increasing smoking age significantly reduced the number of teens and young adults who start smoking. reduce smoking-related deaths; and immediately improve the health of adolescents, young adults and young mothers who would be discouraged from smoking, as well as their children. State tobacco laws were partially changed in 1992 during the Bill Clinton administration when Congress signed the Synar Amendment into law, requiring states to enact their own laws to have a minimum age of eighteen to purchase tobacco or lose funds through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  The amendment was adopted in response to adolescent smoking rates.  All states raised their age to eighteen or nineteen in 1993. In 1997, the Food and Drug Administration issued regulations imposing the minimum age at the federal level of eighteen, although the U.S.
Supreme Court later terminated the FDA`s jurisdiction over tobacco, ending its enforcement practices and leaving that to the states.  With the passage of federal T21, there have also been corresponding updates to the Synar program. To receive their block drug grants, states and territories must now report illicit sales to individuals under the age of 21, whether or not they have increased their own MLSA to 21.5 Increasing the MLTA to 21 may also reduce tobacco cigarette use among 16- to 17-year-olds6 and reduce tobacco and nicotine use among Hispanic youth.12 A study conducted at an Ohio university found that implementing T21 can reduce smoking and smokeless tobacco use, but has no effect on e-cigarette use. Minimum smoking age laws may need to be combined with other control measures to reduce e-cigarette use among adolescents.10 CDC`s Tobacco Monitoring and Evaluation System (STATE) contains a wealth of information about the MLSA Act in each state and territory, as well as in DC. This information is updated quarterly and includes provisions such as minimum age of sale, law enforcement agency, and penalties for violations in each jurisdiction. According to the STATE system, prior to the passage of Federal Act T21 on December 20, 2019, 19 states, 2 territories (Guam and Palau), and DC had already passed laws increasing their MLSA for tobacco products to age 21. Since the passage of federal law T21, 20 additional states and 1 territory (Northern Mariana Islands) have increased their MLSA for tobacco products to age 21.