On Thursday night, the Iowa House of Representatives approved SF 2268, a piece of legislation that will increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21-years-old, which will bring the state in line with the federal age that was raised to 21 at the end of 2019.
The House approved the bill by an 84-13 vote, while the Senate passed it in March by a 43-6 vote.
As has been the case with other states and municipalities, the change will allow for local agencies to enforce the federal minimum age. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that upon signing that the new law went into effect immediately, however it is halfwheel’s understanding that while the law might have changed, FDA likely lacks the authority to enforce the 21-years-old minimum age standard until several procedural steps are finished, which are likely to be completed by the end of 2020. However, the Premium Cigar Association (PCA), National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) have advised their retail members to comply with the increase to 21 as a precautionary measure.
FDA has stated that it is not yet enforcing the 21-years-old standard through its compliance checks program.
Additionally, increasing the minimum age to purchase tobacco and vaping products to 21 will allow the state to have access to federal money designed to be used for substance abuse programs. Speaking to KJAN.com, Iowa Rep. Rob Bacon, R-Slater, put the number at more than $3 million.
The bill is expected to be signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds in the near future. The increase would go into effect immediately upon enactment.