September 25, 2019
Deidre McCabe, Director, Office of Communications, 410-767-3536
Maureen Regan, Deputy Director, Office of Communications,
Maryland Health Department
reaches out to retailers across the state preparing for change in tobacco sales
– The Maryland Department
of Health (MDH) is reaching out to more than 4,000 randomly selected licensed
tobacco retailers across the state to help them prepare for a change in the
legal sales age for tobacco products. Starting Oct. 1, 2019, Maryland will join
17 other states and more than 485 cities and counties across the nation in
increasing the minimum legal sales age to 21 for all tobacco products, including electronic smoking devices such as e-cigarettes, vapes,
pod-based devices and e-liquids.
This change in
the law comes as Maryland, as well as 37 other states, is dealing with an
outbreak of severe lung illnesses associated with vaping. As of Sept. 24, there were 20 such
cases reported in Maryland. In addition to
providing educational materials, MDH is surveying retailers to seek
input on what additional resources they need to assist them with today’s
rapidly changing tobacco landscape.
“We want to help
tobacco retailers comply with the new law,” said MDH Secretary Robert R. Neall.
“They play a critical role in creating a healthier Maryland by keeping tobacco
products out of the hands of Maryland youth.”
month, MDH launched the statewide campaign, “21 or none.” New materials including “minimum age of sale” signs –
compliant with the law – and a toolkit to train staff on new procedures for checking
ID are available for download on MDH’s Responsible Tobacco Retailer website, www.NoTobaccoSalesToMinors.com.
selected for participation in the survey were recently sent letters and
reminder postcards with a web address to complete the short online questionnaire.
Responses are anonymous and more than 200 retailers have already participated
to date. The survey will close Sept. 30 and a follow-up survey is planned for
Nationally, from 2017 to 2018 alone, use
of electronic smoking devices increased by 78 percent. Several cities and
states that have implemented Tobacco 21 have shown the law is helping to reduce
youth access to tobacco products. Oregon saw fewer youth and young adults
starting to use tobacco products since its law took effect in 2018, and youth
report it is harder to access these products.
Approximately 865,000 Marylanders use
tobacco and electronic smoking devices, most of them starting before age 21.
This new law aims to protect over a quarter of a million residents between ages
18 to 20 from developing a nicotine addiction.
youth from using all tobacco products, including electronic smoking devices,”
said Dawn Berkowitz, Director of MDH’s Center for Tobacco Prevention and
Control. “Nicotine is a
highly addictive chemical. The human brain is developing until about 25 to 26
years old and introducing nicotine to your brain while it is still developing
can have permanent negative consequences.”
Department of Health has a website to educate people about vaping: www.TheVapeExperiment.com. To assist
Marylanders wanting to quit tobacco products, MDH operates the free Maryland Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW), offering confidential help
24 hours a day, seven days a week for
quitting vaping and tobacco products for anyone aged 13 and older. The Quitline offers specialized
services for youth ages 13 to 17. More information can be found at www.SmokingStopsHere.com.
services include www.teen.smokefree.gov and Truth's
"This is Quitting" program, which can be accessed by texting
DITCHJUUL to 887-09.
The Maryland Department of Health is dedicated to protecting and improving the
health and safety of all Marylanders through disease prevention, access to
care, quality management and community engagement. Follow us at http://www.twitter.com/MDHealthDept and https://www.facebook.com/MDHealthDept.
201 W. Preston Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-2399
(410) 767-6500 or 1-877-463-3464