After a bipartisan push from both chambers of the legislature, Gov. Tom Wolf signed two bills into law that will have major ramifications on the sale and use of tobacco products statewide.
Under the new law, the purchasing age for tobacco products rises from 18 to 21, with an exception for members of the military. The measure includes vaping products and e-cigarettes, which supporters say will help to improve public health and keep tobacco products out of the hands of minors.
The two bills also penalize students for possessing or using tobacco products, including vapes and e-cigarettes, on school property.
“Numerous studies have shown tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes, are particularly harmful and addictive to youths and young adults,” Gov. Tom
Wolf said after signing the bill. “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.”
Sen. Mario Scavello (R-Monroe), who sponsored the bill to raise the purchase age, said he has witnessed the damaging effects that tobacco products can have firsthand and that the new law will have wide-ranging benefits.“This change will save lives and reduce health care costs,” Scavello said. “I speak as the son of a life-long smoker who lost his father to lung cancer, so this legislation hits particularly close to home.”
The age change takes effect on July 1, 2020.