General Assembly Vote Tracker

SB25 – Raising the age to buy tobacco products

With the passage of Senate Bill 25, Delaware legislators would raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21. This new law would apply to cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco substitutes, such as e-cigarettes and vaping devices. The bill would also eliminate a provision in the law that allowed parents or guardians to buy tobacco for an under-aged (under 18) teenager.

This bill is targeting retailers, not the minors or those between the ages of 18 and 21. Therefore, the bill eliminates current punishments in the law for minors who try to buy tobacco. Currently, a minor can be found delinquent and fined $50 and ordered to do community service. Retailers caught selling tobacco products to a person under 18 would be slapped with criminal fines ranging from $250 to $1,000, while those who are caught selling to people over 18 but under 21 would be subject to civil penalties of similar amounts.

Where is the bill now? Introduced and placed in the Senate Health & Social Services in 2/27/19.

Democratic Sponsors — Townsend, Minor-Brown, Griffith, Longhurst, Hansen, Lockman, Poore, Baumbach, Bentz, Bolden, Brady, Chukwuocha, Seigfried

Republican Sponsors — Delcollo, Cloutier

Yes Votes —

No Votes — 

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2 comments on “SB25 – Raising the age to buy tobacco products

  1. MikeM2784

    Would love to hear more thoughts on this from folks on here. Why 21? Isn’t that just as arbitrary as 18? Why can an 18 year old choose to go to war and die, but not expose themselves to this risk? Why can they be held liable as an adult for other things? I think we need to unify the age one way or the other (I find the alcohol age just as arbitrary and ask the same question, but I know that’s coming from national pressure.)

    On the other hand, if this is part of a larger movement to push toward tobacco prohibition in the state, I’m all for it. Start with raising it to 21, then have the age increase one year every year until they are essentially banned.

    • cassandram

      It’s probably arbitrary, but I think the theory is that if you can stop tobacco and other smoking early, they won’t take it up later. And it closes off a vector for younger people to get the stuff. No idea if this theory has any data behind it. Like higher tobacco taxes, this is supposed to provide a disincentive to even start smoking. Frankly, I’d be ok with lowering the drinking age to 18 while raising the age to get smoking products to 21.

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