Dare County is first in state to ask lawmakers to raise tobacco age to 21

By on February 18, 2023


At the Feb. 6 county commissioners’ meeting, by a vote of 5-1, Dare County became the first county in the state to adopt a resolution formally asking the North Carolina General Assembly to raise the age of tobacco sales to 21.

Entitled a “Resolution Requesting North Carolina General Assembly to Pass Legislation to Protect Our Kids from Vaping and Nicotine Addiction,” the resolution was first passed by the Dare County Health and Human Services Department’s (DHHS) board of directors with the recommendation that it would be presented to the commissioners.

For DHHS Director Sheila Davies, this “T21” resolution continues the county’s leadership in addressing concerns about tobacco use and health.

“In 2015, Dare County became the first county in the state to restrict e-cigarette use in restaurants and bars,” she wrote in an email. “It is fitting that the Dare County DHHS Board and BOC [Board of Commissioners] would support the T21 resolution as they both have historically been in the forefront of addressing public health issues.”

Since 2019, federal law restricts the sale of tobacco products to adults 21 years of age or older. The federal law, however, does not require states to match the national standard, and North Carolina is one of just nine states where the minimum age for tobacco is lower than the national law.

For Teresa Beardsley, the Albemarle Regional Health Services Region 9 Tobacco Manager, the resolution is an important step in bringing the state into compliance with federal statute.

“North Carolina does need to raise the age to match this federal requirement that was passed in 2019,” she told the commissioners at the board meeting, adding that the 18-year-old threshold in North Carolina likely leads to long-term use of tobacco products later in life.

“Many young people transition from this experimental use to regular daily use between the ages of 18 to 21,” she said.

Of particular concern to Beardsley is an explosion in the use of vaping among teenagers.  According to a 2020 Youth Tobacco Survey, between 2011 and 2019, vaping use increased five-fold among the state’s middle school students and use among high school students increased by more than 1,100%.

Beardsley, in her comments to the commissioners, pointed to the state law allowing sales to 18-year-old as one of the factors in that exponential growth.

“The most common social source of E-Cigarettes among youth 13 to 17 is from a friend that’s under 21,” she said.

Generally the onus of determining whether a purchaser is old enough to buy a product is on the clerk or retail business. “The clerk is held responsible for a violation of illegally selling a tobacco product to a person under the age of 18.  It’s a criminal Class 2 Misdemeanor only for the clerk,” Beardsley wrote in her email.

Asked if there is a link between tobacco and e-cigarette use, Beardsley, in an email to the Voice, said that “nicotine use can prime the adolescent brain for addiction to other substances [but] we don’t want to stigmatize teens who vape as being ‘future drug addicts.’”

Underscoring Beardsley’s observation about potential addiction to nicotine are statistics in the 2020 survey showing that 65.7% of high school students and 74.3% of middle school students attempted to quit tobacco products over the course of a year.

The federal law requiring purchasers of tobacco products to be at least 21 does not mandate that states follow suit, but as the resolution notes, the state could lose money it uses for drug addiction programs.

“NC could lose over $4 million in annual funding from the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant money [which the state uses to pay for drug treatment] through penalties under the federal Synar amendment if sales to underage youth are too high in required annual inspections…” the resolution states.

Although the resolution was passed by the board of commissioners 5-1, Dare Commissioner Rob Ross was the sole vote against the measure, calling into question what he saw as inconsistencies between tobacco enforcement and marijuana laws.



Barnhill Contracting Company will receive sealed proposals for Manns Harbor – EMS/Fire Facility (EMS-8), Kitty Hawk – EMS/Fire Facility (EMS-9), Manteo – Youth Center on January 09, 2024. Times to be given on via addendum #01. See the following SCOPE OF WORK: BP 100 – General Trades, BP 105 – Final Cleaning, BP 205 – Demolition, BP 390 – Turnkey Concrete, BP 400 – Turnkey Masonry, BP 500 – Turnkey Structural Steel & Misc. Steel, BP 505 – Light Gauge Metal Trusses, BP 740 – Roofing, BP750 – Siding, BP 790 – Caulking/Sealants, BP 800 – Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware/Toilet Specialties/Accessories/Division 10, BP 840 – Curtainwall/Storefront/Glass/Glazing, BP 925 – Drywall/Framing, BP 960 – Resilient Flooring/Carpet/Base/Epoxy, BP 980 – Acoustical Ceilings, BP 990 – Painting and Wall Coverings, BP 1230 – Finish Carpentry and Casework, BP 1250 – Window Treatments, BP 2100 – Fire Protection, BP 2200 – Plumbing, BP 2300 – HVAC, BP 2600 – Electrical, BP 3100 – Earthwork/Turnkey Site, BP 3213- Site Concrete, BP 3290 – Landscaping. Scopes of work may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager.

Bid Location and Time: Bid opening will be held in the Barnhill Contracting Rocky Mount Training & GPS Technology Room: 800 Tiffany Bvld, Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Time is as follows: January 09, 2024 at 10:00am and 2:00pm. Times per packages to be given on via addendum #01.

Barnhill Contracting Company will receive, open, and read publicly all bids received in person in the Training & GPS Technology Room at the main office and listed with the virtual viewing at the link to be posted on Barnhill’s Plan Room.

Bids will not be accepted from bidders that are not pre-qualified. No facsimile or email submissions are permitted. Sealed bids are to be hand delivered to the bid opening location noted above or mailed Sealed Bids can be delivered before 9:00am the day of the bid to the Barnhill Contracting Company Office at 800 Tiffany Blvd., Suite 200 Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Attention “Clint Hardison.”

The pre-bid meeting will be held in Person & Zoom Meeting on December 06, 2023 at 10:00 am at the Barnhill Contracting’s Rocky Mount Main Conference Room: 800 Tiffany Bvld, Rocky Mount, NC 27804.

The pre-bid meeting link can be located on Barnhill’s online Building Division Plan Room ( https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b) and below. A preferred brand alternates meeting will be held via the same link at the end of the Prebid meeting.

Bid Documents can be viewed or downloaded through Barnhill’s online Building Division Plan Room (https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b) after 12/04/2023.

All Bidders are strongly encouraged to include opportunities for HUB participation wherever possible in their respective Bid submission.  HUB participation is a part of this contract and must comply with all requirements set forth in the Bid Documents.

The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to add pre-qualified bidders. The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to reject any and all bids. Should you require additional direction, please call Barnhill Contracting Company, (Clint Hardison – 252-802-0740).

Clint Hardison is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Dare EMS – Phase 2 Pre-Bid Conference

Time: Dec 6, 2023 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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  • Jessica

    So, we’re worried about tobacco harming our young folks, but ANY restrictions on firearms is a bridge too far. The gun obsession in this country will never make sense to me. All we get our thoughts and prayers, which clearly has done nothing to address the problem.

    Saturday, Feb 18 @ 1:02 pm
  • James Snyder

    Old enough to vote at 18 but not old enough to drink or smoke. If they are smart enough to decide who will run the country at 18 they are old enough to make any decision for themselves. Otherwise, raise the voting age.

    Saturday, Feb 18 @ 2:41 pm
  • Kathy

    Thanks to the 4 Commissioners for their votes. I can’t think of a single positive thing as a ex-smoker about the addiction to nicotine. It took me a long time, but quitting was the best thing I have ever done for myself, and others! Peewoo! The smell, inconvenience, expense, toll on health (heart rate increases 7 beats/minute) while it robs oxygen from the lungs and the social stigma. Good luck quitting! Better, never start.

    Saturday, Feb 18 @ 3:36 pm
  • Czarina

    James Snyder — the age limit for smoking used to be 21. BUT it was lowered to 18 because, the argument was, if men and women who are old enough to fight and die for their country are old enough to smoke, if they wish.

    Saturday, Feb 18 @ 5:33 pm
  • Lisa

    I would love for them never to start-BUT if you can vote at 18, defend our country at 18-how do you then make this against the law? I am a former smoker, and it is hard to quit. I am not sure making laws to ban this is going to work except it will be on paper.

    Saturday, Feb 18 @ 6:34 pm
  • Bobby

    Does smoking marijuana give you cancer or other health issues?

    Sunday, Feb 19 @ 1:56 pm
  • Look@See

    @Jessica… I’m a multi tour combat veteran and if you want to hand over your 2A rights then go ahead or move to California you can be a boot licking government stooge there:. There’s a reason the founders put it in our constitution.. you want your rights stomped on by all means go ahead and be a whiny victim but I’ll stay armed thanks.. ever wonder why mass shootings didn’t happen in the 50s? It’s because liberals and their crap policies and perpetual victimhood were told to STFU.. and rightfully so.

    Sunday, Feb 19 @ 5:35 pm
  • Larry

    You guys in the comments are hilarious. The article is about cigarettes, not about guns, not about anyone taking your rights away, not about being old enough to fight or vote for the country…Cigarettes and raising the age limit to buy them. Not that big of a deal. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em

    Sunday, Feb 19 @ 10:38 pm
  • Blind leading the blind

    “ Generally the onus of determining whether a purchaser is old enough to buy a product is on the clerk or retail business. ‘The clerk is held responsible for a violation of illegally selling a tobacco product to a person under the age of 18. It’s a criminal Class 2 Misdemeanor only for the clerk,’ Beardsley wrote in her email.”

    How does raising the age, therefore, effect anything?

    “NC could lose over $4 million in annual funding from the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant money [which the state uses to pay for drug treatment] through penalties under the federal Synar amendment if sales to underage youth are too high in required annual inspections…” the resolution states.


    so if we just lower the bar the for people who are selling inappropriately and not doing THEIR job, then the state loses funding of $4 million in a block grant.

    $4 million / 100 counties is about how much for Dare County?

    Monday, Feb 20 @ 5:00 am
  • Jessica

    I have never heard ANYONE, liberal or otherwise, say anything about taking away guns. The majority of Americans simply want stricter laws with enforcement of said laws. The reason we have the 2nd amendment (keep in mind the context during which it was written) is that we had no standing army, police force, or other ways of defending our homeland. Our country is far less safe thanks to the 2nd amendment which has been turned on its head for a specific agenda. Of course there’s also the part that’s conveniently ignored which says, “a WELL REGULATED MILITIA. Our country has been turned into a hell hole of gun violence. As for smoking, I’m an ex-smoker and fail to see how raising the age to 21 will be of any benefit.

    Monday, Feb 20 @ 8:27 am
  • obxboxer

    Calm down this is about the smoking age NOT your precious guns (major eye roll) I do believe in adults rights to chose what they eat, drink and smoke as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. If the age gets moved to 21 for everything it should be everything – Right to vote and ability to go into the service and to rent a car etc.

    Monday, Feb 20 @ 12:20 pm
  • surf123

    Reality is the states cannot afford for smoking to be eliminated as they need the tax revenue. I do not smoke and never have, but know I have no business telling anyone what vices they can have. At some point society will turn on alcohol as it is destructive drug that ruins lives and families and kills innocent people. Smoking generally only affects the user in terms of sickness and disease. Age restrictions on drinking are all but worthless as those who want it can easily obtain it regularly. Additionally if anyone really cared the place to start would be college campuses where alcohol flows freely.

    Monday, Feb 20 @ 6:12 pm
  • WindyBill

    May I remind all of you that the historic arguments for lowering the ages for voting, firearms, alcohol, and smoking were presented in response to the foul concept known as the “Draft”. Perhaps your grandparents can tell you of a time when men 18 and older were required to register to be “selected” for mandatory ‘service’ to the American government, meaning being subject to being cannon fodder if your commanding officer decided you were expendible. But only 58,000 Americans died, abt 1962-1976, in a totally useless war made possible by the legalized slavery of ‘the draft’. How those attractive options justified legalized murder still escapes me. In conclusion, do consider each individual activity whether addictive or not, (smoking etc) on its own merits and deficits.

    Tuesday, Feb 21 @ 3:42 pm
  • Currituck

    Smoking has a negative impact on your health. Got that out of the way.
    Why is 21 the magic number? Why not raise it to 61.

    Adulthood is recognized at 18, for most things. We ALL have habits that others think are bad. But a third party deciding deciding what those habits are and what is to be done about it is a slippery slope. They are coming for your family size Oreos and ice cream next.

    These things happen when people have meetings. I have learned that some people like or even love meetings. These people, should be in charge of nothing.


    Thursday, Feb 23 @ 4:30 am
  • Toe Jauber

    More regulation. Sheesh. We need to go back to the good old days when 8 year olds could work all day for 25 cents, and suck down as many Lucky Strikes as their little hearts desired. The day we took our children out of the labor pool and forced them to get educated (more like indoctrinated, am i right?) was the day WOKENESS was born.


    Thursday, Feb 23 @ 10:49 am
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    Toe, could you change you handle since it is unnecessarily similar to former member of the Dare Board of Education. Thanks

    Thursday, Feb 23 @ 12:07 pm
  • SmallerGovernment

    We need a Smaller Government, not more regulations. Do I smoke or vape? No.
    18 is the age of Adulthood. Let that stand.

    Friday, Feb 24 @ 9:20 am