Snow Hill, MD- Beginning October 1, 2019, a new Maryland state law takes effect, raising the minimum sales age to 21 for all tobacco products, including cigars, cigarettes, chewless tobacco, and electronic smoking devices.
Maryland’s new law passed legislation on May 13, 2019, covering all individuals under the age of 21, with the exception of active-duty military personnel ages 18 to 20, who can present valid military identification. For all other sales, a valid driver’s license, or a government-issued ID will be the only acceptable forms of identification for tobacco purchases.
Worcester County tobacco retailers will be required to post signs in their establishments stating, “No person under the age of 21 may be sold tobacco products.” The Worcester County Health Department (WCHD) will be providing materials and face-to-face education to local retail stores on tobacco laws and sales to minors in Worcester County.
Based on the 2016 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), 5.7% of Worcester County middle school students 18.4% of high school students smoke or use a form of tobacco products. The law is intended to cut down on the access that youth have to cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and other tobacco and nicotine products. Raising the minimum legal sales age to 21 will help with this problem in Worcester County. "We know most adults who use tobacco started by the age of 21," said Rebecca Jones, Health Officer for Worcester County. “The Tobacco 21 Law will help reduce youth access thereby reducing the chance of them to ever start using tobacco."
Maryland Department of Health (MDH) is currently updating all resources to support retailers in complying with the new law and over the next couple of months will mail information and ID signage directly to licensed tobacco retailers across Worcester County. Resources will also be posted on MDH’s Responsible Tobacco Retailer Program website, www.NoTobaccoSalesToMinors.com.
For more information, please contact Summer Widmyer, Public Affairs Specialist at 410-632-1100 or visit worcesterhealth.org.