On December 20, 2019, with wide bi-partisan support President Trump signed the bill into law to raise the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years, taking effect immediately. It is illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product, including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes, to anyone under the age of 21.
What the law means for Wisconsin retailers is that while the Wisconsin law has not been changed to match the Federal law, Wisconsin retailers must still immediately comply with the Federal law by not selling tobacco products to individuals under the age of 21.
Reasons why raising the sales age to 21 will make a difference:
- According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 80% of adult smokers started before they turned 18, and nearly 95% started before the age of 21.
- Eighteen year old youth are often a supplier for younger kids buying tobacco products.
- In Washburn County 50% of all high school students have ever tired vaping and 13% of all high school students have used cigarettes, chew, and cigars in the past 30 days, according to the 2019 Wisconsin Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
Submitted by Tammy Holman, Community Alliance for Prevention