Some Indiana retailers say they’re unaware of tobacco age change

Keywords Law / Legal Issues / Retail / Retailers

The legal age in the United States to buy tobacco products is now 21, but some Indiana retailers say they are unaware of the change.

President Donald Trump signed off on a spending package last month that changes the age from 18 to 21, and it went into effect immediately.

Shadi Khoury, who owns a 10-store chain called Indy E Cigs, said his team is still trying to catch up with the changes because he has heard mixed reports, according to The Indianapolis Star.

“We will be in compliance when we have a clear understanding,” Khoury said. He said he heard of the Federal Drug Association’s announcement on Twitter.

Khoury noted that he has not yet received clear direction from the state’s Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, through which Indy E Cigs is licensed.

A representative of the commission told the newspaper that the agency was referring people to the FDA for direction.

The FDA posted a message on its website after Trump signed the provision:

“On December 20, 2019, the President signed legislation to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and raise the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years. It is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product—including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes—to anyone under 21.”

The association will provide additional details on the change as they become available, according to its website.

The Indiana Food & Fuel Association in a Friday news release called the situation “wildly irresponsible.”

“To expect the more than half a million clerks, employed by some 10,000 tobacco retailers in Indiana, not to mention their customers, to discover that this law is already in effect is completely reckless” Scot Imus, executive director, said in the release.

The age minimum applies to all tobacco products, which includes cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vaping cartridges, cigars and hookah tobacco.

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