U.S. News

Oregon bans tobacco sales to under 21s, matching rules on marijuana

(Reuters) - Oregon is raising the minimum age for buying tobacco and e-cigarettes in the state to 21, bringing its regulations into line with sales of marijuana products.

The new law, signed by Governor Kate Brown on Wednesday and taking effect on Jan. 1, bans under-21s from buying tobacco products and vaping devices, and makes vendors liable for fines for under-age sales.

The current age limit in the state is 18.

The higher age already applies in California, Hawaii, Maine and New Jersey.

Oregon residents aged 21 and older have been able to buy marijuana for recreational use since 2015.

About 7,000 people die from cigarette-related illnesses a year in Oregon, according to the state’s public health department.

About 70 percent of U.S. adults support raising the tobacco purchasing age, including 57 percent of smokers, according to a 2013 study published in Tobacco Control, an international peer review journal on tobacco use.

Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; editing by John Stonestreet