Gov. Northam signs bill to raise Virginia’s tobacco purchase age to 21

Posted at 4:50 AM, Feb 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-22 07:50:39-05

RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has signed a bill that raises the age to purchase tobacco products to 21 years old.

Northam signed the bill Thursday after it previously passed the Virginia Senate and House, CBS 6 reports.

Six other states have already implemented this change, California, Oregon, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey,  and Massachusetts.

The Virginia House of Delegates passed HB2748 in a 62-32 vote and the Virginia Senate passed the bill with a vote of 32-7 earlier in February.

This is legislation to address the epidemic of teenage vaping and end teen access to tobacco products by raising the minimum age required to purchase tobacco products in the Commonwealth of Virginia to 21.

Even though teenage use of traditional tobacco products is at an all-time low, self-reported teenage use of vaping doubled last year.

Over 20% of high school seniors reported vaping in the last 30 days in 2018 compared to 11 percent in 2017. For 10th graders, the rate was 16% in 2018 compared to eight percent in 2017. For 8th graders, it was six percent in 2018 compared to three percent in 2017.

The federal tobacco purchasing age remains 18.