Guam Raises Tobacco Age From 18 To 21

Guam raised the age for buying tobacco from 18 to 21, and military shops have been ordered to follow suit.

The law went into effect on Monday, and Navy Secretary Richard Spencer relayed the order in a message on Tuesday, according to Stars and Stripes.

Spencer said the restriction applies to all Joint Region Marianas facilities, which include Andersen Air Force Base and Naval Base Guam.

He directed service members, dependents and civilian workers who are under 21 to refrain from possessing, distributing and using tobacco products — including smokeless tobacco and electronic cigarettes — on shore-based installations, but the rule doesn’t apply to Navy vessels and areas exclusively under federal control.

According to the Pacific Daily News, author of the bill Speaker Benjamin Cruz said the territory’s young adults signed petitions and lobbied senators to get the bill passed.

“This bill became law because of young people, not in spite of them,” Cruz said.

Stars and Stripes reported that those who break the new law will be subject to civil penalties, with fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 for those caught selling or distributing tobacco products to an underage person.

In 2016, service members in Hawaii faced the same law as it became the first state to ban tobacco use for anyone under the age of 21.

Similar to Guam, Hawaii’s law includes smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes and doesn’t apply to personnel aboard Navy vessels.