Pennsylvania is officially joining the Tobacco 21 movement, as on Wednesday, Gov. Tom Wolf signed S.B. 473 into law.
The bill raises the minimum age to purchase tobacco products as well as e-cigarettes and other nicotine products from 18 to 21-years-old effective July 1, 2020. It includes an exemption to the increase for members of the active or reserve military, or veterans who received an honorable discharge, and who are at least 18-years-old and can provide valid identification.
It also makes it a punishable offense for any individual to smoke on the grounds of a school within the state.
“Numerous studies have shown tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes, are particularly harmful and addictive to youths and young adults,” said Gov. Wolf. “Raising the age to 21 in combination with barring e-cigarettes at our schools will help us prevent young Pennsylvanians from engaging in this dangerous behavior.”
The bill was introduced by Sen. Mario Scavello, R-Monroe County, and passed the Senate by a 43-6 vote in September. The House of Representatives passed it by a vote of 135-49 earlier this month, with the Senate agreeing to amendments by a 44-5 vote.
The governor also signed H.B. 97, which expands the definition of a tobacco product to include e-cigarettes and other vaping products, and expressly prohibits the possession of these items on school grounds.
Pennsylvania becomes the 19th state to pass Tobacco 21 legislation.
Image via The Office of Governor Tom Wolf/Flickr under Creative Commons.