Tobacco 21

New federal law raises the minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years of age.

  • On December 20, 2019, the President signed legislation raising the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years of age.
  • The FDA announced that, effective immediately, it is illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21.
  • The FDA defines tobacco product as “any product made or derived from tobacco that is intended for human consumption, including any component, part, or accessory of a tobacco product,” and includes hookah, e-cigarettes (vapes), dissolvables, smokeless tobacco, cigarettes, all cigars, roll-your-own tobacco, pipe tobacco, and future tobacco products that meet the statutory definition of a tobacco product.
  • Tobacco product retailers in Montana should comply with the federal law and discontinue tobacco product sales to those under the age of 21.
  • Federal compliance checks will continue to occur with the new age set at 21. For questions regarding compliance checks, please call 1-877-IDMINOR (436-4667.
  • Signage is available through the Montana Department of Revenue (DOR) stating a person must be 21 years of age to purchase tobacco products. Tobacco retailers can download copies of the signage and print it themselves or contact DOR to have signage shipped to them directly.
  • For additional resources and the latest information on Tobacco 21 legislation, visit the FDA's Webpage.
  • Retailers suspected of selling tobacco products to individuals under the age of 21 can be reported to the FDA through their online form.

Increasing the minimum age of sale from 18 to 21 will reduce tobacco use by delaying the age of initiation among young adults.

  • Nearly 95% of people who smoke cigarettes started before they turned 21.
  • Four out of five adult smokers become regular, daily smokers before they turn 21.
  • A 2015 study out of the Institute of Medicine used mathematical modeling and found that Tobacco 21 has the potential to reduce initiation by 25%, leading to a 12% reduction in smoking.
  • For more information, check out the Tobacco 21 Fact Sheet.

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Jon Ebelt
DPHHS Public Information Officer
(406) 444-0936
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