Delaware Public Media

Gov. Carney signs bill raising age to buy tobacco products into law

Apr 17, 2019

Delaware is the 12th state to raise the age to buy tobacco products.

Gov. John Carney (D) signed legislation Wednesday raising the legal age to buy cigarettes, vapes and similar products from age 18 to 21.

Carney said many Delawareans start smoking or vaping before their 18th birthday. He said the law will hopefully prevent people from developing health conditions that are expensive to treat.

“Lung cancers, heart diseases create significant costs for the health care system. Five hundred million dollars estimated a year. We all pay those costs, you know, through taxes, through Medicaid and Medicare, public programs and through health insurance premiums.”

A National Tobacco Youth survey shows a 78 percent jump in e-cigarette use among high school students from 2011 to 2018.

Retailers who sell to underage consumers will face a fine. The law takes effect in July.