Rite Aid raises tobacco buying age to 21, following Walgreens’ lead

Health, Fitness & Food

Rite Aid will raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21 within the next 90 days, the company announced Tuesday.

“Raising the age for purchasing tobacco products is an important step in our efforts to ensure that these products do not fall into the hands of children and teens,” Rite Aid Chief Operating Officer Bryan Everett said in a statement.

Rival drugstore chain Walgreens said earlier Tuesday it would raise the age requirement to buy tobacco products starting Sept. 1. The Food and Drug Administration earlier this year put Walgreens “on notice” for allegedly selling the products to minors.

A dozen states have already raised the minimum buying age and a handful of others are exploring similar action. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnelllast week said he would introduce federal legislation sometime next month, marking the strongest support yet in Congress for what’s been dubbed “T21.”

Rite Aid said data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing the vast majority of smokers start before they turn 18.

Rite Aid earlier this month said it would stop selling e-cigarettes, citing federal data showing a surge in high school students using the devices. CVS Health stopped selling tobacco products in 2014.

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