The legislation signed Monday by Gov. Larry Hogan will add vaping products to the list of tobacco products. “There is no more important job than protecting the health and safety of Marylanders,” said Hogan in a statement.
The law will require retailers to place warning signs stating the age limit, however it includes an exception that will allow people 18 and over in possession of military IDs to purchase tobacco, a provision that anti-tobacco advocates oppose.
Opinions divided about a similar bill in Arizona
The MAryland Provision will make an exception allowing people below 21 in possession of military ID’s to purchase tobacco.
Meanwhile, opinions of lawmakers in Arizona about a similar law remain divided. SB 1147 would raise the legal age for purchasing tobacco and vaping products to 21 and establish fines for violating the law. However some lawmakers and health advocates are arguing against this bill, as it would sidestep another bill (HB 2357) that would define e-cigarettes as tobacco products.
HB 2357 was sponsored by Sen. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, and since it classifies vaping products in the same category as tobacco, it would not only subject the devices to the same rules and regulations with regards to the sales of the products, but also with regards to where they can be used.
The bill would also allow towns and cities the rights to impose their own regulations. Therefore, while it does not explicitly raise the legal vaping age, it would still allow communities to adopt and keep their own ordinances and raise the legal age to 21 if they so wish.
Consulting Stakeholders before next round of votes
With regards to SB 1147, Arizona’s Rep. John Allen said that it is being amended in collaboration with stakeholders, including retailers and tobacco companies, before being put forward for another round of votes. “Tobacco (representation) is certainly at the table, but it’s mostly the ma and pa stores that want to see this change,” Allen said. “They don’t want to be at the whims of a city council that decides to raise the age to 65 and charge $900 for a permit to sell tobacco.”
Read Further: The Hill