Change in tobacco law leaves some confused
When the year 2020 rings in, a new state law raising the minimum age for buying tobacco products to 19 takes effect.
At the same time, federal law raises it to 21.
This has left some feeling a little lost.
“It is confusing," said Ann Hughes, who manages a Casey's store in Columbus. "It’s confusing for us as workers and it’s confusing for the clients that come in.”
Federal law is supposed to be the law of the land, but a Columbus police spokesman said local authorities can only enforce what is written in state law, which is the minimum age to buy tobacco products being 19.
Still, they said they recommend local retailers abide by the federally-mandated minimum age of 21.
Places like Hy-Vee and Casey's already go by that policy.
“As of the 28th of December, we got emails from corporate stating that they’re going to 21 and our registers are already programmed for 21," Hughes said. "If you’re not 21, the sales will be denied.”
She said the change has left a few customers with questions.
"They’re probably 18-year-olds that are questioning that age limit and I said ‘well, they changed it to 21 and that’s what we’re following,’" Hughes said. "They’ve asked if they could Google it and I said ‘sure.’ But yeah, they’re a little upset that the age limit’s changing.”