18-Year-Old Iowans Can Possess Tobacco
As we in the Quad Cities celebrated the holidays a federal law was signed into legislation changing the age of sale of tobacco products.
On December 20, 2019, the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products was raised from 18 to 21 years. In a statement on the FDA’s website, “It is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product — including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes — to anyone under 21.”
This new Federal law supersedes any state laws. States like Illinois had already raised the legal age to 21 this past summer. While other state law, including Iowa, set the legal age to purchase tobacco at 18.
The Blue Grass Police Department recently posted on their Facebook page to let everyone know exactly how the federal vs. local law plays out.
"According to the Scott County Attorney's Office, the new "Federal" 2020 tobacco law, applies only for the seller of tobacco products. Which means if you are under the age of 21, you may no longer "purchase" tobacco products. This particular federal law is enforced by the ATF (The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives). However, if you are 18 years old, you can still be in possession and smoke/chew tobacco products in Iowa legally."
In other words, while the 18-20 year old Iowans might not be able to buy tobacco, if somebody over 21 buys it for them, it's legal to possess.
The post goes on to say "The State of Iowa would have to change the law stipulating the age of 21 in order for police in Iowa to enforce it." However, within the comments of the post, they do bring up that if a cashier sells to anyone under 21 they could get in trouble. But, "If you as a consumer are of legal age and you purchase tobacco for an 18 year old friend...there isn't currently a law prohibiting that from happening."