MADISON, Wis. (AP) — No one under 21 would be allowed to purchase cigarettes or vaping products under a bill the state Assembly approved Thursday.
A person must now be at least 18 to purchase cigarettes, tobacco, nicotine or vaping products.
President Donald Trump signed a law last year that bars tobacco sales to anyone under 21 but local police lack jurisdiction to enforce federal law. The Wisconsin bill would allow local law enforcement to enforce the new minimum age by placing it in state law.
The chief Assembly sponsor, Republican John Spiros, initially included vaping products in the bill but later removed any mention of them. He amended the proposal on the Assembly floor to include them again. The Assembly ultimately passed the bill on a voice vote, sending it on to the state Senate.
Spiros told a reporter after the vote that he wanted to mirror the federal law and he initially thought those statutes didn’t include vaping products. The Legislature’s attorneys informed him earlier this week that the federal definition of tobacco products can be interpreted to include vaping products so he put them back in the bill.
Spiros took plenty of heat for leaving vaping products out of the bill. Sixteen groups led by the American Heart Association sent an email to legislators on Monday urging them to reinsert vaping products in the bill, saying the products can cause cancer and lung disease and exempting them would confuse police.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said that chamber may consider the bill on its final session day in March.