Wisconsin is the latest state to consider statewide legislation that would increase the minimum age required to buy tobacco products and e-cigarettes. Wisconsin state legislators are considering moving the minimum age to buy tobacco products and vaping products from 18 years of age to 21. This and similar legislation is in response to the current ongoing rash of hospitalizations associated with vaping products.
According to the Public Health Law Center at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law, 18 states, including the District of Columbia, have already moved their minimum age to 21 years of age. 4 states have the current minimum age to buy tobacco products and vaping devices at 19 and 29 states have kept the legal age at 18 years old.
The Wisconsin legislation doesn’t come from partisan lines either. Assembly Bill 422 enjoys bipartisan support from both the Republican party and the Democratic party. The debate around the bill focuses around contradictory standards of adulthood in our laws. Representatives that support the bill stress that this is a peer pressure issue that makes young Wisconsin residents susceptible to harm. Opponents stress that 18 years of age is considered to be the age of majority in other areas of the law, as the legal voting age.
No matter the age, the number of vaping related illnesses has been rising across the nation. According to an article in the Journal Sentinel, as of September 19th of this year, at least 530 people have developed vaping-related lung illnesses.
In Texas, as of September 1st of this year, the legal age to buy tobacco, tobacco products, and vaping devices such as e-cigarettes is 21. This, like the proposed legislation in Wisconsin, comes as a reaction to the widespread use of vaping devices by youth in the state. Vaping device companies like JUUL Labs and Altria have supported the legislation to increase the minimum age.
At Forester Haynie, we are currently reviewing and taking cases regarding lung illnesses related to vaping products. If you or a loved one believe that you have developed a lung illness due to a vaping product contact us here or give us a call at (214) 210-2100.