New Jersey, Oregon, and Maine Pass Tobacco 21 Policies


Five states have now raised the minimum legal sales age (MLSA) for tobacco products to 21.

On July 21, 2017, New Jersey became the 3rd state to raise the minimum legal sales age for all tobacco products to 21, following Hawaii in June 2015 and California in May 2016. Governor Chris Christie had vetoed a similar measure the previous year, but signed bill S-359/A-2320 into law, citing health care cost savings and the policy’s ability to prevent youth tobacco use initiation.  At least 28 New Jersey cities and towns, including Princeton, Rutherford, and Trenton had passed ordinances raising the age to 21 at the local level. The new state law will go into effect November 1st, increasing New Jersey’s minimum age from 19 to 21. Read the full text of New Jersey’s Tobacco 21 law.

Maine’s legislature passed a bill in June that would raise the age to 21, and while Governor Paul LePage’s vetoed the bill on August 2, 2017, the Maine legislature voted to overturn his veto.

On July 6th, the Oregon House of Representative passed a bill that would raise the minimum legal sales age for tobacco from 18 to 21 statewide.  The Senate passed the measure in March 2017, and Governor Kate Brown signed the Tobacco 21 policy into law on August 8, 2017. Tobacco 21 has been a goal of Oregon legislators for the past 3 years. In March, 2017, Lane County became the first locality in Oregon to raise the age to 21. The policy will go into effect January 1, 2018 to give residents and retailers time to adjust to the new policy. The bill includes all tobacco and nicotine products, e-cigarettes, and other “inhalant delivery systems” not approved for sale as cessation devices by the FDA. All language prohibiting possession of tobacco products by those under 21 was removed from the bill before it passed. Learn more about Oregon’s Tobacco 21 policy here. Read the full text of Oregon Tobacco 21 policy. 

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