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Washington State, Illinois Adopt Tobacco 21

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Illinois becomes the first Midwest state to adopt Tobacco 21, thanks to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s passage. Gov. Bruce Rauner previously vetoed the bill last year. The purchase law goes into effect July 1, but it’s important to note there will be no penalties for underage possession. Illinois joins California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Virginia with Tobacco 21 statewide laws — and now Washington State.

The Washington State law, which goes into effect in January 2020, includes vaping products with or without nicotine and carries a fine for selling to minors. Gov. Jay Inslee signed the bill at a public ceremony in Seattle.

In addition to two new states joining the fold, there are myriad jurisdictions either heading toward or already signed Tobacco 21 into law. Each jurisdiction has its own version of what the law means to them:

  • Monroe, MI, where the city is again looking at an e-cigarette ordinance after it failed last year. The council has voted, according to The Monroe News, and it would “amend the city’s existing laws prohibiting the sale to and possession of typical tobacco products by minors. The amendment would cover all vapor and other nicotine products. This is a Tobacco 21 law.
  • Wallingford, CT, where the Town Council is looking at a Tobacco 21 law for purchase, according to MyRecordJournal.com. The cities of Meriden and Cheshire are also looking at a Tobacco 21 purchase restriction.
  • The state of Alaska, where according to KTVA.com, the state is adopting a purchase age of 19. Starting Jan. 1, businesses that sell vaping devices or nicotine products must get a business license endorsement to do so.
  • The state of Arizona, where senators are working on Tobacco 21 purchase laws, according to Fox 10 Phoenix.
  • Erie County, NW, where members of the Health and Human Services committee are pushing for Tobacco 21, reports WIVB.com.
  • New York State, where the battle wages on between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the vapers of New York. As part of his 2019 budget plan, Cuomo has asked to adopt Tobacco 21 for purchase, according to Newsday. Fifteen counties in the state already have their own Tobacco 21 laws.
  • Lincoln, NE, where Sen. Dan Quick has introduced LB149, which “would provide restrictions relating to the sale and use of vapor products and flavored liquids,” according to NTV ABC. This would be a Tobacco 21 law.
  • The state of Vermont, where Rep. George Till has introduced H.26 in the House, according to VTDigger. The bill would prohibit sales of “tobacco substitutes, liquids containing nicotine or otherwise intended for use with a tobacco substitute, or tobacco paraphernalia unless the seller is a state-licensed wholesale dealer or has purchased the products from a licensed wholesaler.” Till also is asking that the state adopt Tobacco 21 via H.27, which states that no one under 21 can “possess, purchase or attempt to purchase tobacco products, tobacco substitutes or tobacco paraphernalia except for purposes of conducting licensed sales.”
  • And, finally, in one of the most bizarre cases, Nebraska bill 149 is asking that vaping products be held to Tobacco 21, but smoking and chewing tobacco are not included in the proposed legislation. The bill, according to Live Well Nebraska, is currently with the General Affairs Committee. Indoor vaping in workplaces and public spaces also are prohibited under the bill’s proposal, along with “vapor product’s” definition being changed to include products that don’t contain nicotine.