WASHINGTON -- When a new federal law takes effect, giving the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco products on June 22, the agency will restrict cigarette vending to locations for patrons 18 and over, as part of a broad new scheme designed to limit tobacco sales to youth nationwide.
The new rules are posted on the FDA's website. They include language that "prohibits the sale of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products through vending machines and self-service displays, except in facilities where individuals under the age of 18 are not present or permitted at any time."
Although all 50 states had already banned tobacco sales to minors, specific enforcement provisions often vary from state to state. The new law imposes uniform regulations nationwide and places enforcement under the purview of a single federal agency.
Additional new FDA rules taking effect on June 22 will further restrict tobacco advertising, packaging and store sales.
Separately, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have both passed a bill that, when signed by the President, will require online tobacco sellers to collect state taxes and will require all over-the- counter sellers to check every buyer's age and identification. Tobacco sales by mail will be prohibited.