BALTIMORE (WJZ) — You must be 21 to buy alcohol, and starting October 1- you’ll have to be 21 to buy tobacco products too.
Maryland is joining 17 other states in raising the age from 18 to 21.
The Health Department said it’s a new way to crack down on smoking for young adults.
“Over 90 percent of smokers started before they were 21,” said Dawn Berkowitz with the Maryland Department of Health.
The law comes as Maryland and 37 other states deal with an outbreak of severe lung illness linked to vaping.
20 cases have been reported in Maryland so far this year.
The health department said with exception to the military, the law will make it harder for teens to have access to buying tobacco products.
“There’s no grandfather clause in there so 18 19 20 years old who could be legally sold tobacco products today won’t be able to do so next week,” Berkowitz said.
Stores selling tobacco products will now place signs in their window saying, “21 or none,”
Some employees said they’re worried not everyone will comply.
“There’s going to be a lot of angry customers that are young,” one employee said.
Health reports show over 865,000 Marylanders use tobacco or e-cigarettes, and some say they’re happy knowing it could prevent exposure to nicotine at an early age.
“I think by 21 your brain is more mature in making decisions that can have lasting and punitive repercussions on your health down the line,” said Baltimore resident Andrew Mickey.
The penalties for selling tobacco products to someone under 21 can include criminal and civil fines.