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Military Bases Enforcing 21 As Age Minimum For Vaping

Military Bases Enforcing 21 As Age Minimum For Vaping


In 2018 more states and territories have announced that they are raising the legal age to purchase tobacco and vapor products from 18 to 21. In addition to states, territories that function as military bases, like Guam, have also enacted and begun to enforce similar laws that raise the legal minimum ages.

According to Stripes.com, commissaries and exchange stores on Guam have been ordered to stop selling tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes and vape gear, to personnel under age 21 because of a new law that took effect January 8, 2018 on the U.S. island territory.

In a message to distributors, Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer said that the restriction applies to all Joint Region Marianas facilities, including Andersen Air Force Base and Naval Base Guam. While Guam isn’t officially a state, it is recognized as a territory of the United States and inhabitants born on the island are American by birth.

The Secretary of the Navy also directed service members, dependents and civilian workers that are below the legal age to refrain from possessing, distributing and using tobacco or vape products on shore-based installations.

“Although state laws generally do not regulate federal activities, as a matter of policy, all military and civilian personnel, dependents, family members, residents, and guests on Joint Region Marianas installations and facilities … shall comply with the revised age limitations associated with the purchase, possession, use, and distribution prohibitions of Guam’s new tobacco law,” he wrote in the message.

The punishment for not complying with these new rules are fairly harsh, ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 fines for those caught selling or distributing tobacco products to someone younger than 21. The message also said that its installations and tenant commands would also comply with the new law.

“Attention should be given to educating transient and temporarily assigned personnel, including visiting aircraft and ship crews,” it said.

This is not the first time that the Navy has taken steps to clamp down on vapes and e-cigs. In April 2017, the Navy proclaimed that e-cigs and vapes were temporarily made illegal for personal to have on ships. This rule came down after 12 incidents related to vaping prevented sailors from working for a combined 77 days, according to a report in Time.

The commanders said the ban was intended to protect sailors and the fleet, noting that overheated batteries in electronic cigarette equipment have caused explosions that led to fires, burns and facial disfigurement.

Guam and military bases follow a number of states who also raised the minimum age to sell and purchase tobacco and vaping products. On January 1, 2018, Oregon became the fifth state to raise the minimum age, following California, Hawaii, Maine, and New Jersey.