Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

Federal minimum age on tobacco purchase from 18 to 21


January 15, 2020

On December 20 of 2019, US President Donald J. Trump signed legislation to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act which raises the federal minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 years of age to 21.

“Tobacco retailers play a direct role in protecting kids from nicotine addiction and the deadly effects of tobacco use,” the FDA says. “FDA regulates all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, hookah tobacco, and cigars. If you sell tobacco products, you must comply with all applicable federal laws and regulations for retailers.”

Retailers are encouraged to I.D. everyone under the age of 27 who attempts to buy tobacco products

Phillips County and Malta City Justice of the Peace Gayle Stahl told the PCN she supports the age change and will enforce the law.

People in Phillips County should know that if you sell cigarettes, or vaping, or any tobacco products to someone under the age of 21, it is a federal offense,” Judge Stahl said.

Judge Stahl said she wasn’t yet sure what the fines would be for people caught breaking the law but she said offenders could potentially have their business shut down for violations.

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (MDPHHS) website states that entity is awaiting additional guidance from the FDA and federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and will provide more information as it becomes available.

MDPHHS also states that Nearly 95% of people who smoke cigarettes started before they turned 21, that four out of five adult smokers become regular, daily smokers before they turn 21, and a 2015 study out of the Institute of Medicine used mathematical modeling and found that Tobacco 21 has the potential to reduce initiation by 25-percent, leading to a 12-percent reduction in smoking.


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