RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — It appears Virginia will be the latest state to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products.
On Wednesday, Virginia’s House of Delegates adopted a Senate bill (62-32), that would require anyone buying cigarettes, other tobacco products, nicotine vapor products and alternative nicotine products to be 21.
The current age is 18.
While the bill has been sent to the governor’s desk, the Senate also passed the legislation by more than 2/3rds, meaning an unlikely veto by Gov. Ralph Northam could easily be overridden.
The legislation, originally proposed by Delegate Chris Stolle (R-Virginia Beach), keeps the age of buying tobacco products at 18 for active duty military.
Leaders in the General Assembly supported the legislation in an effort to try to prevent younger people from picking up the habit.
“The vaping piece has really become very, very problematic and something needs to be done,” said House Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights).
More than 3 million middle and high school students in the United States use tobacco products, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
Any retailer caught selling to somoene under the age of 21 could face a $500 fine.