Tobacco Sales Restriction to Age 21 or Older Affective Now

 

Selling Tobacco to Anyone Under Age 21 Is Illegal Effective Immediately

Last week President Trump signed the omnibus appropriations law, including a piece of legislation that increased the federal restriction on the purchase of tobacco to 21 years old. It was initially thought that the FDA had 180 days to issue regulations after the bill was signed to implement the new federal age limit on tobacco sales. However, the FDA has since issued a notice that the age restriction is effective immediately.

This means that, according to FDA, all tobacco products including cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes and more cannot be sold to anyone younger than 21. While there are unanswered questions about when FDA plans to enforce this requirement and whether the agency can legally enforce it before updating its regulations, retailers should be aware that FDA views any sale to a person under 21 as a violation of the new law.

It is uncertain as to the extent of retailer liability at this time. The National Grocers Association has inquired with the FDA and outside counsel to gain some clarity. IGIA President Michelle Hurd is in communication with NGA and FMI, keeping a close watch on the issue and for any notices from state regulators.

In the meantime, please contact the IGIA with any questions or concerns you may have by emailing mhurd@iowagrocers.com. NGA has acknowledged and communicated the challenges facing retailers in terms of training and updating of PoS software and has expressed frustration with the lack of guidance from the FDA. NGA is also directing retailers to resources on T21 compliance, training, and Point of Sale tools, found on the We Card website. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to NGA’s Vice President of Government Relations & Counsel, Chris Jones at cjones@nationalgrocers.org  IGIA will continue to monitor the situation and provide an update as more information becomes available.

Information Source: NGA