Reprinted US raises smoking and vaping minimum age to 21
By KTIV.COM 2019/12/25 10:12 161 0 0

Washington D.C. (CNN) -- Big changes for the tobacco and vaping industries. The U.S. has raised the minimum age for buying tobacco products to 21.

President Donald Trump signed several major health provision in a sweeping spending bill late Friday night.

Including raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21.

According to the campaign for tobacco-free kids, 19 states and Washington D.c., along with hundreds of towns had already raised the minimum age from 18.

And the measure on a federal level has long had bipartisan support.

President Trump has spoken in the past of wanting to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco and flavored e-cigarettes.

Health officials and parents continue to have concerns about the growing popularity of vaping among young people and the outbreak of vaping-related lung injuries and deaths.

According to the latest federal survey, 1 in 4 high school seniors admitted to vaping nicotine.

But despite the new age restrictions, some advocates say the youth epidemic will continue unless vaping products are banned completely.

The new law will take effect sometime next year.

But in Iowa, laws already prohibit people under the age of 18 from purchasing or possessing not only tobacco products but also vaping products.

The Sioux City Police Department says between January 1 and December 1 of this year, 126 citations have been issued to teens for possessing tobacco, nicotine alternatives or vaping products.

Sioux City police say 104 of those citations for the possession of vaping products. Fines for underage possession of vaping products start at $50 for a first offense and increase up to $150 for subsequent offenses.

As part of an effort to keep these products from teens, the SCPD is participating in the Iowa Alcohol Beverage Division's iPLEDGE initiative.

The initiative is an effort to get 100-percent compliance with Iowa's laws on selling these products by retailers. The Alcohol Beverage Division offers free training to retailers and their employees on preventing sells of tobacco, nicotine alternatives, and vapor products to minors.

The SCPD is also in the process of checking compliance with Iowa laws by retailers.

Officers with the Special Investigations Unit will be sending people under 18 into stores to attempted to purchase these products.

The teens are instructed to show their ID if requested and steps are taken to make no effort to mislead sales clerks. Should a clerk sell to a minor, they will be issued a citation fining them $100.

The goal of the checks is to obtain 100% compliance by retailers. The ABD reports that statewide, there is a 91% compliance rate.