New Nicotine Legislation in Maryland now changed the game, and only ’98 and older babies made the cut. That’s right, now in the state of Maryland you must be 21 or older to buy cigarettes, vapors, and cigars. Turns out, Maryland is not the only state, there are 14 other states among the United States with similar legislation. This is a huge game changer as the percentage of users between 18-20 years old is not a small one. Many people, believe or not, are actually happy with the changes because some babies that were born in 2001 were still in high school before this legislation passed. Think about it, high schoolers being able to go to any drug store or gas station and purchase nicotine.
The state of Maryland was officially the 13th state to hop on the train of banning nicotine consumption to young adults under the age of 21. The Maryland General Assembly and Governor Hogan got together to discuss rising statistics of young adults being addicted to nicotine. This resulted in the passing of House Bill 1169. The new nicotine legislation in Maryland will take effect beginning on October 1st, 2019. The state plans on launching a statewide campaign to spread the word and advise all young adults to follow the law.
Researchers found that there has been a tremendous increase in tobacco use in recent years among young adults, specifically since the e-cigarettes were introduced in the market. The big issue among young adults is that their brain is still developing, which can lead very quickly to nicotine addiction and possibly other drugs once nicotine does not have the same effect. In Maryland alone there are 780,000 residents that consume tobacco, out of which 255,000 are between the ages of 18-20.
According to Dawn Berkowitz, director of MDH’s Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control, “Most of these popular candy- and fruit-flavored products that are attractive to youth contain high levels of nicotine. In addition to addiction, the nicotine in these products leads to reduced impulse control, attention deficit, and other learning and mood disorders in youth and young adults. It’s troubling that we often hear of older high school students supplying these tobacco products to their younger peers.”
Other effects nicotine has on young adults are reduction of impulse control, attention deficit, learning disorders, mood disorders, anxiety, exposed to an early development of addictions, anger management issues,catastrophic injuries, and many other physical and mental health issues. Let’s forget that nicotine users are in more risk of developing mouth and lung cancer.
According to a 2018 report by America’s Health Rankings, 15.3% of Maryland’s population were from 18 years old to 44 years old. Only 15.1% were ages 45-64, and lastly 8.2% were ages 65+. 23.1% of the Maryland population smokes and has less than a high school degree (this could be those currently attending, those that dropped out, our adults that never finished/went to high school). 22.3% have less than a College degree, 16.6% have some College experience, and only 5.2% have obtained a College degree or more.
For those that make a living out of selling Nicotine products, this new law means less sales. The state of Maryland is being very strict when it comes to supplying young adults under 21 with Nicotine products. The Nicotine Legislation in Maryland now means that under this bill licensed retailers could face a $300 dollar fine for their first offense, a $1000 dollar fine for their second offense within two years of the first, and a $3000 dollar fine for a third offense within two years of the second. Before the only legislation that existed is that they must have a license to sell tobacco, and could only sell to adults 18+ of age.
The bill also authorizes the Maryland Department of Health to use young adults to conduct unannounced inspections of tobacco product retailers and report it to the state.
The MDH operates a free Maryland Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW), that offers confidential phone/web/text counseling 24/7 and provides nicotine replacement therapy (patch and gum) for residents 18 and older. The Quitline also offers specialized services for youth ages 13 to 17. Learn more at www.SmokingStopsHere.com.