DEERFIELD, Ill. – Walgreens will increase the age for buying tobacco, including e-cigarettes and vaping devices, to those age 21 and older, Bloomberg reports. The company announced the change yesterday for its 9,500-plus locations. Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he would push for Congress to up the federal tobacco buying age to 21.
“We’ve seen positive results from other recent efforts to strengthen our policies related to tobacco sales and believe this next step can be even more impactful to reduce its use among teens and young adults,” said Richard Ashworth, Walgreens president of operations.
The company is already starting the change in Illinois, which recently increased the state minimum tobacco buying age. Walgreens will train employees and update its systems to comply with the new company directive, which begins Sept. 1. Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration labeled Walgreens a “top violator” among drugstore chains for underage tobacco sales.
Already 14 states have raised the tobacco buying age to 21, which impacts about 38% of the U.S. population, according to Altria Group Inc. The company has expressed its support of a 21-minimum age for all tobacco products, including e-cigs and vaping devices.