Through new Oklahoma law, legal age increased for purchase of tobacco products
Published: May 23rd, 2020
Legislation raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 has been signed into law. Sen. Greg McCortney, R-Ada, was principal author of Senate Bill 1423, signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday (May 19).
McCortney, chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, said the legislation ensures Oklahoma’s statutes now align with the federal Tobacco-Free Youth Act, which was signed by President Donald Trump last December. That law prohibited the sale of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21.
“Enforcing tobacco product age limits actually takes place at the state and local level, so even though the federal government had already raised the age to 21, we needed to make sure state law mirrored that so there was no confusion or ambiguity for the public, businesses or law enforcement,” McCortney said. “Just as importantly, health care professionals have long advocated raising the minimum age for tobacco to reduce smoking numbers and that will help us achieve better health outcomes.”
Rep. Kevin Wallace, R-Wellston, served as House principal author of S.B. 1423.
“This important legislation will protect our youth from the negative health effects of tobacco use by increasing the age when they are eligible to make such purchases,” said Wallace said. “This will align us with federal statute, and that compliance puts ABLE in line for grant funding of more than $18 million that can be used for tobacco cessation programs. I was grateful to work with Senator McCortney on the passage of this legislation and for the support it received.”
The measure gained 28-19 passage in the Senate, and 79-20 approval in the lower chamber.