Teen smoking vapor cigarette e1578497640802 - Tobacco 21

What is Tobacco 21?

In December 2019, the President signed legislation to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and raise the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years.

It is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product – including cigarettes, cigars, hookah and e-cigarettes – to anyone under 21.

Tobacco 21 Law outlines that:

  • Retailers cannot sell tobacco products (including ENDS) to anyone under the age of 21.
  • There will be fines for selling tobacco/ENDS products to anyone under the age of 21 is levied against the retailer.

The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will oversee federal enforcement of the minimum legal sales age of 21. Retailers can visit FDA website for guidance at https://www.fda.gov/tobacco-products

A full toolkit of This is Our Watch resources is available to retailers—including posters, stickers, age verification tools, and more—to help retailers better comply with federal tobacco regulations.

Commonly asked questions:

What is the list of tobacco products covered by the new T21 law?

The T21 law applies to sales of tobacco products – including cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, hookah tobacco, cigars, pipe tobacco, electronic nicotine delivery systems including e-cigarettes and e-liquids – to anyone under 21 years of age.

 What is the timeline for enforcement?

The Tobacco 21 legislation was enacted on December 20, 2019 and immediately took effect. FDA’s enforcement of the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products is ongoing.

How will the T21 law be enforced by the federal government? Will it be the same as before passage of the T21 law?

FDA’s enforcement of the T21 law will generally be carried out using the same process. The FDA will continue to conduct compliance check inspections of tobacco product retailers to determine a retailer’s compliance with federal laws and regulations. People under the age of 21 who are caught with possession or using will have the same consequences as previous.