DE Lawmakers Vote to Increase Tobacco Purchasing Age, Now Heads to Governor Carney

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On Thursday, legislators in the Delaware State Senate followed suit with members of the State House, passing a bill that would increase the age to purchase tobacco products and substitutes to 21, from the current age of 18.

Senate Bill 25 passed in a nearly party-line vote. Introduced in March, the legislation would restrict access to tobacco products and tobacco substitutes to individuals under the age of 21 by prohibiting sales, imposing a civil penalty and repealing the ability of a parent or guardian to purchase tobacco products for a minor. It would also bar those under 21 from vaping establishments.

The legislation not only bans those under 21 from purchasing conventional tobacco products like cigarettes but also would ban them from purchasing e-cigarettes that may only contain nicotine.

Lawmakers defeated an amendment propped by Democratic Representative William Carson that would allow active members of the U.S. military and veterans to purchase tobacco products as long as they are at least 18 years old.

Governor Carney expressed support of the legislation saying “Preventing smoking is the best thing we can do to improve the health of our state, and reduce the growth of health care costs over time.” He also said “I want to thank members of the General Assembly for their partnership on this important legislation, and I look forward to signing this bill into law soon.”

The bill passed in a 25 to 16 vote. It is set to go into law 90 days following it’s enactment.