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.
  • The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services is awaiting additional guidance from the FDA and federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and will provide more information as it becomes available.
  • 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.
  • Free signage stating a person must be 21 years of age to purchase tobacco products is available from the Montana Department of Revenue. Tobacco retailers can order hard copies of the signage and have it shipped to them for free. Tobacco retailers can also download copies of the signage and print it themselves.
  • For additional resources and the latest information on Tobacco 21 legislation, visit the FDA's Webpage.

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.

Need help quitting?


Jon Ebelt
DPHHS Public Information Officer
(406) 444-0936
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Youth and Young Adults

Youth and Young Adults

Big Tobacco is targeting youth to create life-long customers. As current tobacco-users are dying, Big Tobacco needs to find their “replacement smokers.” Find out how youth are being targeted and how MTUPP is countering the efforts.




mtreACT is Montana’s teen-led movement against Big Tobacco.  mtreACT joins statewide youth empowerment movements across the country in recognizing the power of young people to effectively take on the leading cause of preventable death, commercial tobacco use.


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