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A Healthier Delaware: Raising Tobacco Sales Age


Raising the Tobacco Sales Age from 18 to 21

Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disability in Delaware and the United States. That’s why Governor Carney signed into law Senate Bill 25, which increase the age for sales of tobacco products from 18 to 21.

Why this is important

  • Adolescents and young adults are more susceptible to the effects of nicotine since their brains are still developing, and it can disrupt the formation of brain circuits that control attention, learning, and susceptibility to addiction.
  • Increasing the tobacco age to 21 in Delaware would reduce the likelihood that a high school student will be able to legally purchase tobacco products for themselves, other students, or underage friends.
  • Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death and disability in Delaware and the United States. Data shows tobacco use or smoking as risk factors for 16 cancers.
  • A 2018 Institute of Medicine report indicates young people who begin with e-cigarettes are more likely to transition to combustible cigarette use, and are at risk for suffering associated health burdens.
  • Tobacco Free Kids estimates that up to 400 Delaware kids under age 18 become new daily smokers each year.
  • Tobacco use costs Delaware $532 million every year in direct medical-related costs, according to the CDC. 


  • Governor Carney called for raising the tobacco sales age to 21 in his 2019 State of the State Address.
  • Governor Carney announced his support for Senate Bill 25 on March 5, 2019.
  • Governor Carney signed Senate Bill 25 into law on April 17, 2019.
  • Read text of the legislation here.
  • Law takes effect July 16, 2019, 90 days after Governor Carney signed it.

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Watch Announcement 

March 5 – Surrounded by members of the General Assembly, advocates, students, and health care professionals, Governor John Carney announced his support for Senate Bill 25 – legislation that would raise the legal age for sales of tobacco and vape products from 18 to 21.