Maryland lawmakers in both chambers of the General Assembly have passed a bill that would raise the state’s minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 years old.
The legislation, co-sponsored by House Speaker Michael Busch, a Democrat was introduced in the House in February. Following the addition of amendments, including allowing active military personnel between 18 and 21 years old to continue purchasing tobacco products, the bill passed the Senate in a 32-13 vote. Among those voting in favor was Eastern Shore Senator Mary Beth Carozza, a Republican. Senator Addie Eckardt, a Republican from the Mid-Shore voted against the measure.
The passage of the legislation follows other states doing the same. Nine states including Virginia have already increased the age to purchase tobacco to 21. Delaware lawmakers are also considering an increase.
Governor Larry Hogan has not expressed an opinion on the legislation or if he would sign it. He recently used his veto authority on several pieces of legislation passed by the General Assembly including a $15 minimum wage and allowing local jurisdictions to determine a school start date.
Should the legislation be signed by the Governor, Maryland would ban all sales of tobacco products to those under the age of 21 on October 1, 2019.