Iowa Legislature Approves Tobacco Purchasing Age Increase, Governor Expected to Sign Bill

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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.

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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.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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