Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States.1 Among US adults in 2019, about 34 million adults currently (in the past 30 days) smoked cigarettes.2 Nearly 9 out of 10 adults who smoke cigarettes daily first start smoking by age 18; after age 25, almost no adults begin smoking or transition to daily smoking.1
In 2009, Congress enacted the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act) giving the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) comprehensive authority to regulate the manufacturing, marketing, and sale of tobacco products. As enacted, it applied to cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco.6 In 2016, FDA finalized a rule that extended its regulatory authority to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars, and hookah and pipe tobacco.7 After adopting this rule, no tobacco products could be sold to individuals younger than age 18.
In December 2019, a federal Tobacco 21 law was passed that raised the national purchase age for all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to 21 years old. This law put the onus on the retailer by making it illegal to sell any tobacco product to a minor under the age of 21. This law is generally enforced through fines and protects younger adolescents from accessing tobacco products through friends who are legally able to buy them.
According to 2021 data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey, over 13% of high school students (2.06 million) currently use a tobacco product. Current tobacco product use was highest for e-cigarettes (11.3%), followed by cigars (2.1%) cigarettes (1.9%), smokeless tobacco (1.2%), hookah (1.2%), heated tobacco products (0.8%), and pipe tobacco (0.4%).
Research shows that kids often turn to older friends and classmates as sources of cigarettes. Increasing the tobacco age to 21 would reduce the likelihood that a high school student will be able to legally purchase tobacco products for other students and underage friends.
The New York State Tobacco Control Program works to create communities open to policy, systems, and environmental changes that prevent tobacco and e-cigarette access by youth and eliminate exposure to toxic secondhand smoke and vaping aerosol. In addition to these state laws, many organizations, businesses, municipalities, and counties have adopted binding or nonbinding policies and resolutions that prohibit smoking and e-cigarette use. These policies include prohibiting smoking and e-cigarette use in multiunit housing; banning smoking, tobacco use, and e-cigarette use in additional outdoor spaces; restricting the number and location of stores that sell tobacco and e-cigarettes; prohibiting the acceptance of tobacco company funds or services; and working to reduce the impact of adolescent exposure to smoking in movies and on the internet.
Almost all adults who smoke cigarettes started in their teens. Public Health Law 13-F, known as the Adolescent Tobacco Use Prevention Act (commonly referred to as ATUPA), regulates the sale of tobacco and vaping products to restrict their access by youth and young adults. ATUPA violations can result in civil penalties or retailer registration suspension or revocation. Recent amendments:
NYS has one of the highest state cigarette taxes in the country. In 2010, NYS's cigarette excise tax increased to $4.35 per pack of 20 cigarettes or little cigars. The tax on moist snuff is $2.00 per ounce, and the tax on cigars and other tobacco products is 75% of wholesale value. Localities may levy additional tobacco taxes with the approval of the state legislature. New York City (NYC) also imposes a local tax on cigarettes at $1.50 per pack, bringing the combined state and local tax to $5.85, the third highest in the nation. As of June 1, 2018, NYC Local Law 145 requires retailers sell cigarettes for a minimum retail price of $13.00 per pack, the highest pack price in the U.S.
Every retail dealer of cigarettes or tobacco products in NYS and every owner or operator of vending machines that sell cigarettes or tobacco products must register with the Department of Taxation and Finance. In 2019, 18,219 tobacco retailers were registered with the NYS Department of Tax and Finance. Cigarette wholesalers, retailers and distributors also must be licensed. Municipalities may establish their own licensing requirements.
Enacted in 1985, the Cigarette Marketing Standards Act, Tax Law, Article 20-A, prohibits the sale of cigarettes below cost and makes it illegal for retailers to intentionally avoid the collection or payment of taxes. The law includes fines and penalties for violations.
Enacted in 2000 and implemented in 2004, the Cigarette Fire Safety Act, Executive Law Article 6-C Section 156-C, established fire safety standards for cigarettes sold in NYS. The act requires manufacturers to certify that all cigarettes they offer for sale in NYS meet a specific ignition propensity standard to prevent fires caused by burning cigarettes left unattended and particularly those held by smokers who fall asleep during use. NYS was the first jurisdiction in the world to establish such a requirement. Cigarette-caused fires and deaths have declined since the implementation of the law.
Momentum increased as cities and states across the nation began to increase their legal sales age for tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Nineteen states and DC passed Tobacco 21 laws. Since passage of the federal law, 14 more states have passed laws increasing their state legal sales ages to 21 as of November 2020.
Tobacco 21 is an important component of a comprehensive public health approach to reducing tobacco use. In addition to Tobacco 21 we need to eliminate all flavored tobacco products, stop online (remote) sales and increase taxes on all tobacco products including e-cigarettes. In addition, FDA must begin its premarket review of all e-cigarettes, hookah, cigars and pipe tobacco.
Retailers across Pennsylvania can no longer sell any tobacco product (including e-cigarettes) to anyone under the age of 21. View the Downloadable Resources for Retailers that provide guidance regarding the impacts of these laws on tobacco retail sales.
New Minimum Age: The minimum age for the sale and/or distribution of cigarettes, tobacco products, tobacco related objects, alternative nicotine products and vapor products has increased from 18 years of age to 21 years of age.
A special event tobacco permit is issued for the sale of cigars, cigarettes or loose or smokeless tobacco at a temporary off-site location. The permit can be authorized for a period of one day up to a maximum of ten days.
He or she may confiscate the tobacco and charge you with being in violation of Code of Virginia 18.2-371.2, which prohibits anyone under 18 years of age from buying or trying to buy, or possessing any tobacco products, including but not limited to cigarettes, cigars, bidis, rolling papers, nicotine vapor products, and alternative nicotine, and hemp products.
Effective Sept. 1, 2019, the 86th Legislature passed Senate Bill 21, which increased the legal age for a person from 18 to 21 for the sale, distribution, possession, purchase, consumption or receipt of cigarettes, e-cigarettes or tobacco products.
Retailers must use Form 69-117, Cigarette, E-Cigarette and Tobacco ProductsRetail Employee Notification (PDF) to notify employees of the law and obtain employees' signatures as record of the notification. Vendors can be certified to train employers and employees engaged in the retail sales of cigarettes, e-cigarettes or tobacco products. Vendors must complete and submit Form AP-192, Application for Seller Training Certification (PDF), which is also available by calling or visiting one of the Comptroller's field offices. The Comptroller's office will review qualified applications and certify vendors interested in providing a seller training program.
On December 20, 2019, President Donald Trump signed legislation to raise the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years. It is now illegal for retailers to sell any tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes, to anyone under the age of 21. Prior to this change, the minimum age to buy tobacco products in Alabama was 19. Read our full news release on the change.
Alabama Act 2013-383 (HB286) - amends Sections 28-11-2 and 28-11-13, Code of Alabama 1975, relating to the sale, use, possession and transportation of tobacco and alternative tobacco products so as to include electronic cigarettes, electronic cigars, electronic cigarillos and electronic pipes.
Numerous economic studies have documented that increases in cigarette taxes or prices reduce both adult and underage smoking. The general consensus is that every 10 percent increase in the real price of cigarettes reduces:
Alabama Act 2004-545 (HB716) - increases the state tax on cigarettes from 16.5 to 42.5 cents per pack and doubles the tax on other tobacco products. It further requires the use of tax stamps by municipalities for the sale of cigarettes. Tax rates on tobacco products other than cigarettes (snuff, smoking tobacco, chewing tobacco, and cigars) vary based on weight and retail selling price of the products.
SB 1080, the new regulation that sets the minimum age to buy tobacco and nicotine products at 21, comes with some new restrictions on retailers that sell tobacco and nicotine products like cigars, cigarettes, or e-cigarettes.
Local health departments have additional ordinances governing the sale of tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes. It is important for retailers to understand these local ordinances in addition to the state and federal rules. Reach out to the local health department where the business is located for a comprehensive list of applicable local ordinances.
It means the minimum age for buying cigarettes will keep going up and up. In theory, somebody trying to buy a pack of cigaret