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County Executive Calvin Ball Pre-Files Bill To Raise Age For Tobacco and E-cigarette Purchases From 18 To 21 in Howard County

County Executive Calvin Ball Pre-Files Bill To Raise Age For Tobacco and E-cigarette Purchases From 18 To 21 in Howard County

October 24, 2019

Media Contacts: Scott L. Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Today, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball pre-filed legislation that would raise the minimum legal age to purchase tobacco products and electronic smoking devices (also known as “e-cigarettes” or “vaping” devices) from 18 to 21 in Howard County. This bill will also amend what constitutes proof of age to purchase tobacco or electronic smoking devices. Consumers will no longer be allowed to provide an employer or college identification documents; only government issued identification documents will be allowed to conduct purchases.

Beginning October 1, 2019, the new minimum sales age for all tobacco products in Maryland was raised to 21 according to State Law. This legislation updates the Howard County Code to be consistent with the new state law and bill will include the state law exemption for active duty military under the age of 21.

“The safety of our young people is a top priority of my administration and the responsibility of our entire community,” said Ball. “We know that most adults who smoke or use tobacco started by age 21. In addition, in 2018, more than 3.6 million U.S. youth, including 1 in 5 high school students and 1 in 20 middle school students, reported current e-cigarette use. This legislation would slow this rise, decrease access to e-cigarettes and reduce the likelihood of young people ever starting to use tobacco. By raising the minimum age, we would be keeping our kids healthy and decreasing their chance of lifelong addiction.”

According to the Howard County Health Department, the use of electronic smoking devices could lead to inhaling chemicals that cause lung disease and possibly death. Additionally, users of these devices can also become addicted to nicotine which can damage the brain. For more information and resources on smoking and electronic smoking devices, please visit the Howard County Health Department’s TeenHealthMatters website.

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