State health officials said today that tobacco product retailers in Montana should comply with a new federal law and discontinue tobacco product sales to those under the age of 21. Federal compliance checks will continue to occur under the new minimum age requirement.

On Dec. 20, 2019, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) announced, effective immediately, it is illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21. https://www.fda.gov/tobacco-products/compliance-enforcement-training/retail-sales-tobacco-products

The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) is awaiting additional guidance from the FDA and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) and will provide more information as it becomes available.

The FDA defines tobacco product as “any product made or derived from tobacco that is intended for human consumption, including any component, part, or accessory of a tobacco product,” and includes hookah, e-cigarettes (vapes), dissolvables, smokeless tobacco, cigarettes, all cigars, roll-your-own tobacco, pipe tobacco, and future tobacco products that meet the statutory definition of a tobacco product.

“DPHHS strongly supports this new law, which is grounded in public health research and will protect young adults from a lifetime of addiction to nicotine,” DPHHS Director Sheila Hogan said.

Hogan noted that nearly 95% of people who smoke cigarettes started before they turned 21. Increasing the minimum age of sale from 18 to 21 will reduce tobacco use by delaying the age of initiation.

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