New Nicotine Regulations On the Way in Virginia


Photo used with permission from Creative Commons

A consumer holds a Juul in their palm.

Written by Ryan Wilkinson and Mark Blevins

The Virginia State Legislature is currently pushing through a bill to raise the sale age for Nicotine products from 18 to 21. The bill, HB 2748, won the majority, with a 67-31 final vote by Virginia House of Delegates. The new law received bipartisan support and is expected to be signed into law by Democratic Governor Ralph Northam. Its fate now rests in the Virginia Senate.

The US Surgeon General claimed teen vaping to be an “epidemic” and the bills intent is to help curb just that. Altria, one of the world’s largest producers and marketers of tobacco had a representative voice their support for the new legislation.

“Altria supports raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21,” said Jennifer Hunter, Altria’s representative speaking on the new law and voicing their support. Altria recently bought a $13 billion-dollar stake in JUUL, which has been at the center of an FDA crackdown amidst claims that the company is marketing to teens.

Opposition came from various groups, including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and the American Heart Association. While the floor was open for the audience to discuss the bill, both organizations had representatives present to voice their opposition. “We know that the sponsors are well intentioned, and we certainly support what they’re trying to do,” said Ashley Bell, a representative for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action, also known as ACS CAN. “We need a little bit more time to figure out the right way to do it,” says Bell.