Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has signed a budget bill into law that includes a provision to raise the tobacco purchase age to 21. This makes Pennsylvania the 19th State in the U.S. to raise its tobacco purchase age to 21. Pennsylvania now will become one of 38% of the U.S. States with a tobacco purchase age of 21. The new law goes into effect on July 1, 2020.
“Numerous studies have shown tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes, are particularly harmful and addictive to youths and young adults,” said Governor Wolf in a press release. “Raising the age to 21 in combination with barring e-cigarettes at our schools will help us prevent young Pennsylvanians from engaging in this dangerous behavior.”
Pennsylvania joins Hawaii, California, New Jersey, Maine, Oregon, Massachusetts, Virginia, Utah, Washington, Illinois, Delaware, Arkansas, Maryland, Vermont, Texas, Connecticut, New York, and Ohio as states where the tobacco purchase age is now 21. With California and Texas having such laws, it means the two most populous states in the U.S. now have a minimum tobacco purchase age of 21.
There are now several federal bills in Congress proposing raising the tobacco purchase minimum age to 21 on a national level. Most recently HR 2339 passed a subcommittee with language calling for a national minimum tobacco purchase age of 21. It’s a movement supported by Tobacco-Free Kids, Tobacco 21, and most recently, Altria has announced support for a federally mandated minimum tobacco purchase age of 21. This is a movement most in the premium cigar industry have chosen not to fight.