New federal tobacco law raises questions for retailers

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – According to the Food and Drug Administration website, it is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product to someone under the age of 21. This comes after President Donald Trump signed congressional legislation raising the minimum age for purchase of tobacco products to 21 from 18.

However South Dakota state law has not been updated to align with this new federal law.

Cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes are now illegal to sell to people under the age of 21- that’s according to the FDA website.

Dave Grevlos is the owner of Shop N Cart convenience stores in Sioux Falls and says there is some confusion for retailers.

“Some of the sources are saying it was taking effect immediately, but I can’t go by just an email from a supplier as the reason we are going to start following that new law, we’re not going to purposely break any laws but right now there is such a gray area whether we would be breaking a law by selling to a 20 year old,” owner of Shop N Cart convenience stores, Dave Grevlos said.

The South Dakota Retailers Association says they’ve been receiving calls asking for clarification.

“The role out of this has been very confusing, it’s created a lot of uncertainty for a lot of retail businesses,” executive director of South Dakota Retailers Association, Nathan Sanderson said.

However he says they are encouraging retailers to start following the change.

“The FDA would say it is effective immediately and so certainly retailers are going to need to make a variety of changes when it comes to signage, training their employees, to identifying the proper age and verify that when they’re making sales to customers, and so that’s why we are encouraging retailers to get on this right now,” Sanderson said.

“We’re getting so much conflicting information from normal, reliable sources, I’m not sure which one to believe at this point,” Grevlos said.

KELOLAND News spoke with the chief of staff for the South Dakota Attorney General and and he say it’s a federal law, however local law enforcement must enforce the state law which still says retailers can sell to people 18 and older.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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