Assembly approves tobacco purchasing age increase

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The Wisconsin State Assembly moved forward Thursday with changing the legal age to purchase tobacco products in Wisconsin to 21.

It now needs approval from the Wisconsin State Senate, and would align Wisconsin with federal law.

President Trump signed a $7.38 trillion budget in December of 2019. Part of that new budget was raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 years old. Thursday, the Wisconsin Assembly approved Bill 422, which will bump Wisconsin’s minimum age up to 21.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, one in five high school students used e-cigarettes in 2018.

Representative Jesse James of Altoona, says Assembly Bill 422 ensures all nicotine-related products will not be sold to anyone younger than 21. James says the reason for the change is to keep Wisconsin law and federal law the same so Wisconsin can continue to spread prevention through the school system. It also means the state will be able to keep around $2 million in funding.

“Obviously all the health organizations involved wanted to see that as well and with the vaping epidemic that's taking place within our high schools hopefully this will be an additional starting point to help with the vaping issues that exist,” said James.

The bill now heads to the state senate for approval.