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Montana Health Officials Issue Guidance On New Tobacco Age Requirement

Vaping devices sitting next to their product box.
John Adams
Montana Free Press
Vaping devices sitting next to their product box.

Montana health department officials are urging tobacco product retailers to comply with a new federal law that raised the minimum age requirement to buy tobacco from 18 to 21.

The federal Food and Drug Administration made it illegal to sell tobacco to anyone under 21 years old on December 20 in accordance with legislation recently passed by Congress.

The new law applies to tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, roll your own and pipe tobacco, hookah, cigars and cigarettes.

DPHHS Director Sheila Hogan said in a statement Thursday that the new law is grounded in public health research and will protect young adults from a lifetime of addiction to nicotine.

The department says it’s waiting on additional guidance from the FDA and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Federal compliance checks will continue under the new age requirement.

Also on Thursday, the Trump Administration announced a partial and temporary ban on the manufacture, distribution and sale of all flavored vaping cartridges. The federal ban, which exempts tobacco and menthol flavors, follows Montana Governor Steve Bullock’s temporary state-wide ban on the sale of flavor cartridges, which was recently upheld in court.

The vaping industry has 30 days to comply with the new federal ban. E-cigarette manufacturers, like JUUL, can apply for FDA approval to bring flavored vaping products back to market.

Copyright 2020 Yellowstone Public Radio

Nicky is MTPR's Flathead-area reporter.
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