Special to The Ely Times 

A new law that went into effect Dec. 20 will now prohibit the purchase of tobacco products or electronic cigarettes in the United States to anyone under the age of 21, according to the Food and Drug Administration. 

It is part of the $1.4 trillion spending bill that President Trump signed. 

For some states this was no big change, but for Nevada, this is definitely a big change, where now the federal law raised the sale from 18 to 21.

Usually, new legislation doesn’t take effect right away. The change simply increased the age limit in existing law, so it was able to go into effect immediately, a spokesman for the Food and Drug Administration said last week.

Health officials applaud the decision to raise the legal age to 21. They say the other states that already passed the law have seen positive results, including the number of 18 year old high school students who purchase tobacco for their under-aged friends.

Initial studies show that tobacco use declines in places where sales are restricted, which could lead to a 25 percent decline in tobacco use in Nevada.

New FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn tweeted, “This is a major step in protecting the next generation of children from becoming addicted to tobacco products,” 

Teenage use of tobacco products has been on the rise since 2017 thanks to the advent of e-cigarettes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1 in 4 high school students has used a tobacco product in the past 30 days. 

And with the great debate on whether vape products are safer, research shows that vape products contain more than 60 chemicals including some carcinogens and nicotine, which can be very addictive. 

There are not very many long-term health studies on electronic cigarettes but one study suggests it results in a higher risk of heart attacks. Tobacco products have been shown to cause cancer, cardiovascular disease, and affect skin and teeth.

A survey conducted earlier this year by the Nevada Institute for Children’s Research and Policy at UNLV found 77 percent of Nevadans surveyed favored limiting tobacco sales to those 21 and older. The survey relied on 848 interviews of Nevadans over 18.

For people who want to quit smoking, chewing or vaping there are resources available. they can call the Nevada Quit Line at 1-800-QuitNow