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Virginia Governor Signs Tobacco Purchasing Age Increase

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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has signed a bill into law that will raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products and tobacco alternatives from 18 to 21-years-old, making the commonwealth the seventh state in the country to enact such an increase.

The bill, H.B. 2748, includes an exemption for active duty military personnel, meaning that if such an individual is able to product valid identification, they would only need to be 18-years-old to purchase tobacco, e-cigarettes or vaping products.

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Also included is a bill that will remove tobacco vending machines from places where persons under 21-years-old might have access to them. It does not completely ban such vending machines, however, allowing them as long as the facility in which they are located is restricted to persons of the new legal smoking age.

The bill was passed by the House of Representatives by a 62-32 vote, while the Senate cleared it with 32-7 vote earlier this month. Northam signed it into law on Thursday afternoon according to multiple reports, and while the bill does not include a specific date that the increase will go into effect, state law indicates that bills passed during a regular session of the legislature become effective on July 1 following adjournment of the regular session.

Virginia joins Hawaii, California, Oregon, New Jersey, Maine and Massachusetts as states to make 21 the minimum age to purchase tobacco products. That group could grow again this year as roughly 20 states are considering similar legislation.

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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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