Utah is on track to increase its minimum age to purchase tobacco in the state, though it’s a gradual process. On July 1, the minimum tobacco purchasing age will increase to 20-years-old, a year later it will increase to 21-years-old.
Yesterday, the Utah Senate Business and Labor Committee passed HB23, which would speed up the timetable for a minimum standard of 21-years-old to go into effect this year.
Much of this seems like semantics as the federal law will likely change from a minimum standard of 18- to 21-years-old.
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.