The Maryland General Assembly passed a bill Wednesday to raise the minimum age to legally purchase tobacco, tobacco-products, and nicotine-containing products. The bill will change the age from 18 years old to 21 years old.
Governor Larry Hogan will now be left to sign the bill after it passed through the General Assembly with bipartisan support.
Items contained in the definition of the bill include vape pens, juices, and other electronic smoking devices apart from traditional cigarettes and cigars.
A spokesperson from the Baltimore City Health Department says, "Raising an age makes it just that much less accessible, and so it's not the only strategy, but it's a really important strategy that sends a message to our younger people that they matter. Their bodies matter and we need to be keeping them healthy," says Rebecca Dineen.
Despite the raising of the minimum age, many believe that young people will still find ways to obtain the products. Small business owners who specialize in vape products believe the decision will hurt their businesses.
According to the American Heart Association, 95% of adults who smoke or use nicotine products become addicted before the age of 21.
Nine states have already enacted a 21-year old minimum age to purchase tobacco - California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Maine, Oregon, Massachusetts, Utah, Arkansas and Virginia.
The bill would take effect on October 1st.
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