A little over a month since Delaware Gov. John Carney expressed his support of raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco and tobacco alternatives to 21-years-old, a bill has been introduced into the state’s Legislature seeking to do just that.
As had been expected, Sen. Bryan Townsend, D-11, who is also the Senate Majority Whip, introduced S.B. 25 on Wednesday, a bill that would also eliminate an existing part of the law that allows parents to buy tobacco products for their children. It also eliminates penalties for persons under the legal buying age attempting to buy tobacco products, shifting the responsibility solely onto the retailers.
Stores who are caught selling tobacco to a person under 18-years-old would face criminal fines starting at $250 and escalating to $1,000 for multiple offenses, while stores selling to a person between 18 and 21 would face civil fines in the same range.
The bill has already gained five co-sponsors in the Senate and 14 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives.
If passed, the bill would go into effect immediately. It has been assigned to the Senate Health & Social Services Committee where it is awaiting a hearing.