You now have to be 21 to buy tobacco products in Delaware. Delaware is the 16th state that has raised the minimum age of sale for all tobacco products to 21.

The American Lung Association believes this law will help address the youth vaping epidemic and save lives.

"A benefit to many individuals we believe that this particular law will really help us to prevent the initiation of youth tobacco use as well as save lives," said Deb Brown, chief mission officer of the Lung Association.

According to the American Lung Association, close to 2,500 kids under age 18 try their first cigarette and more than 400 kids become regular daily smokers every day. One third of these kids will die from smoking-related diseases.

Brown hopes this will reduce those numbers.

"It certainly helps to reduce the number of young people ever starting to smoke and hopefully it will help us, as I said save lives and also reduce the chronic diseases associated with tobacco use," said Brown.

According to Delaware Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay, nicotine has a profound impact on the brain of a young person.

"It impacts things like our ability to focus and make good decisions, and certainly increases our risks of being addicted to nicotine for a lifetime," Rattay said on WDEL's DelAWARE Tuesday.

Rattay said in terms of having a long-term effect, "the fact that now you have to be 21 to buy any of these products is going to be a game-changer." 

Someone between 18 and 21 - in fact, a smoker or a vaper at any age - may get advice from Delaware's Quitline at 1-866-409-1858.

"Our Delaware Quitline allows you to have online counseling, phone counseling or even face-to-face counseling as well as nicotine replacement products to help you quit," Rattay said.

Reporter - Anchor

Mark Fowser is a veteran journalist in Delaware.