(Reuters) – Drugstore retailers Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc and Rite Aid Corp said on Tuesday they would sell tobacco products to customers who are at least 21 years old, amid a crackdown on teenage tobacco use.
U.S. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell last week disclosed plans to introduce legislation to raise the minimum age for buying tobacco products, including vaping devices, to 21 from 18.
In the face of an “epidemic” rise in tobacco products use among middle and high school students, the U.S. health agencies have introduced policies to restrict access to such products.
Walgreens, which announced the change earlier in the day, said the restriction would come into effect across its drug stores by September.
The company operates 9,560 drugstores across the country and has been warned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for flouting tobacco sale rules by selling tobacco products to minors.
Rite Aid, which had previously announced it will remove e-cigarettes and vaping products chainwide, said the new policy would come into effect across all its stores within 90 days.
The company will continue to enforce its chainwide policy that requires identification to purchase age-restricted items, including tobacco products.