A new bill in Kansas would increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21, ban flavored vapes and increase fines for retailers caught in violation of the law.
The federal government has already increased the minimum age to purchase tobacco and vaping products to 21 but that law is unlikely unenforceable at this time. That’s prompted a number of states to move forward with their own bills to increase the minimum purchasing age, not waiting around for the federal government to clear the final procedural hurdles in its law.
Rep. John Eplee, R-Atchison, has introduced H.B. 2563 in the Kansas House of Representatives. It would increase the minimum age to purchase all tobacco products to 21, ban the sale of flavored vaping products except menthol, ban the use of vaping products in all places where smoking is banned and increase the fines for retailers caught in violation of the new age standards.
The bill would not ban flavored tobacco products.
Fines for retailers caught selling to those under the age of 21 would increase from a flat $200 per violation to a new tiered system:
- First violation — A minimum fine of $500
- Second violation within three years — A minimum fine of $750
- Third violation within three years — A minimum fine of $1,000
On Dec. 21, 2019, President Trump signed H.R. 1865, a $1.4 trillion spending bill that also increased the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that upon signing that the new law went into effect immediately. 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 after a few procedural steps, which likely would 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.