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Buying vs. Possessing E-cigarettes in Arkansas | VERIFY

Does the new law only forbid the buying of e-cigarettes, but not smoking? A viewer asked us to verify.

ARKANSAS, USA — A big change in Arkansas law took effect at the first of this month. 

The age limit to buy any tobacco product in the state went up to 21, and that includes vaping products, too.

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But the change prompted a THV11 viewer to email me and ask if I could sort out some confusion. 

Joe Nichols emailed me and asked: 

"Does the new law only forbid the buying of e-cigarettes, but not smoking? The law for buying age is 21, but is it true that it doesn't say anything about actually smoking at 21? So you can't buy the e-cig, but you can smoke it as long as you're 18?"

Well Joe, in finding the answer to your question, we learned a few other details. 

First, Arkansas is one of only 13 states to raise the tobacco age to 21. And second, tobacco is the leading cause of death in Arkansas.  That's why lawmakers stepped in.

So, here's your answer.

Straight from Arkansas code 5-27-227, it specifically "prohibits those under 21 from purchasing, using, or possessing tobacco products, including e-cigarettes." 

So, you have to be 21 to both purchase AND smoke in Arkansas.

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There is reason for confusion, though. The changes brought by Act 580 are progressive, so for anyone who turns 19 by the end of this year, then the minimum age in 2019 is 19. In 2020, you have to be age 20 and in 2021, everyone must be 21 to buy or smoke.