President Donald Trump signed a bill into law that raised the legal age to purchase tobacco in the United States to 21, though there is confusion regarding the implementation of the bill and timetable for retailers to begin enforcing it.
The bill, signed just days before Christmas, was a sweeping spending bill drafted in a bipartisan effort to avoid a government shutdown. Part of the bill was a provision that raised the legal age to purchase tobacco in the United States from 18 to 21. The FDA added an amendment to its website after the signing, stating, "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. FDA will provide additional details on this issue as they become available." It is unlikely that any other regulations will change aside from the increase in minimum age.
The FDA's website remains largely unchanged, with the page detailing regulations for retailers still even mentioning the legal age as 18, with the only indication of the new law being the banner at the top. The FDA has stated that it will provide new information as it becomes available, but as of right now, the lack of information has many retailers confused. "You can call the FDA, you can call the state, you can call the courthouse. You can talk to 10 different people and they're all gonna give you a different answer," a store owner said in an interview with KAKE news. The owner mentioned that there had been no communication regarding the timetable for the law's new implementation, nor any new regulations that may follow the raised age.
According to some sources, the change has gone into effect immediately as it is a change of an existing rule and not a new rule. There is, however a provision of the passed spending bill that gives the FDA not more than 180 days to implement the new rule. As of the writing of this article, there is still no word from the FDA over the implementation of the law, and there still seems to be no uniform consensus among news sources.