Delaware raises age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21

DOVER, Del. – The first state is raising the age that people can buy tobacco products from 18 to 21.

Governor John Carney signed the bill into law on Wednesday.  Governor Carney said, “Raising the age from 18 to 21 is going to go a long way I think in discouraging young people from starting in the first place.”

Secretary of DHSS Dr. Kara Odom Walker added, “So this law will make it more difficult for young people to start smoking, start using e-cigarettes, and save lives.”

We’re told Delaware has one of the highest cancer mortality rates in the country, and that’s largely due to lung cancer, so the hope is that this bill will help to change that.

Dr. Walker said, “Lung cancer typically happens as a consequence of tobacco use over a period of time, so the more opportunity we have to decrease long term smokers and long term tobacco use, the better chance we have to decrease lung cancer rates.”

Some say, they think this bill is a step in the right direction.

Xavier Broomer, a Delaware resident said, “By them not being able to actually go in the store and get it, hopefully their minds develop and they actually learn what the tobacco is doing to their body instead of just thinking it is cool.”

Others say they don’t think it will do much.

Antwone Walker, another Delaware resident said, “Raising the age to 21 is really not going to make a difference because there’s kids that’s younger than that that still, you know what I mean, can send somebody into the store to get tobacco so it really don’t matter what age you are.”

On top of that, some people say they don’t understand how people at the age of 18 can choose to serve in the military, but not be able to buy tobacco products.

Walker said, “If you can join the military why can’t you smoke or I mean get drinks or whatever?”

No matter what your opinion is, the bill is now law and it will be implemented after 90 days.

Governor Carney said, “We’re all better off if we don’t if people don’t smoke in the first place and people don’t expose themselves to that risk in the first place.”

This bill only applies to the purchase of tobacco products. If an 18 year old is smoking on the street, they will not be breaking the law. They are just not allowed to purchase the tobacco products themselves.

When we asked legislators if they were worried about people buying cigarettes in a neighboring state like Maryland, they say they know it’s a possibility but still believe this bill will cut down on the likelihood of a purchase.

Categories: Delaware, Local News