Tobacco Purchasing Age by State

On Dec. 21, 2019, President Trump signed a spending bill that included an increase in the federal minimum age to purchase tobacco products, raising it to 21-years-old. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated that while the law went into effect upon its signing, it was not yet enforcing the 21-years-old standard through its compliance checks program.

It is halfwheel’s understanding that while the law might have changed, FDA likely lacks the authority to enforce the 21-years-old minimum age standard until several procedural steps are finished, which are expected to be completed by the end of 2020. As news of the age change came to light, the Premium Cigar Association (PCA), National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) began advising their retail members to comply with the increase to 21 as a precautionary measure.

Changing the laws at the state and local level are generally done to ensure that local agencies tasked with enforcing the minimum age requirement can do so, as they are only able to enforce the laws of the jurisdiction they represent. Additionally, states can become eligible for federal grant money by showing they are reducing tobacco use, particularly by those under 21-years-old, and as such passing purchasing age increases is one way to accomplish that goal.

StateMinimum Age to Purchase Tobacco
Alabama 19
Alaska 19
Arizona 18
Arkansas 21
California 21
Colorado 21
Connecticut 21
Delaware 21
Florida 18
Georgia 18
Hawaii 21
Idaho 18
Indiana 21
Iowa 21
Kansas 18
Kentucky 21
Louisiana 18
Maine 21
Maryland 21
Massachusetts 21
Michigan 18
Minnesota 21
Mississippi 21
Missouri 18
Nebraska 21
Nevada 18
New Hampshire 21
New Jersey 21
New Mexico 18
New York 21
North Carolina 18
North Dakota 18
Ohio 21
Oklahoma 21
Oregon 21
Rhode Island 18
South Carolina 18
South Dakota 18
Tennessee 18
Texas 21
Utah 21
Vermont 21
Virginia 21
Washington 21
West Virginia 18
Wisconsin 18
Washington D.C.21
Last Updated: Aug. 25, 2020