General News

New Tobacco Laws

New Tobacco Laws

On December 20th, President Trump signed legislation increasing the federal minimum age to buy tobacco to 21. The “T21” law gave the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 180 days to implement the age limit increase, but instead the agency announced this week that the law is effective immediately with the following statement on its website

“Note: On December 20, 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 and e-cigarettes – to anyone under 21. FDA will provide additional details on this issue as they become available.” 

More than 15 states have already increased the minimum age for tobacco purchase to 21, but the federal mandate institutes this change for all U.S. states and territories. NGA is inquiring to FDA to determine its enforcement plans for the new age limit on tobacco sales. We advise our members that effective December 20, 2019, retailers should not sell tobacco products to those under the age of 21. We encourage our members to monitor notices from their state regulators to ensure proper compliance with the new mandate.

For retailer resources on T21 compliance, training, and Point of Sale tools, please visit the We Card website. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to NGA’s Vice President of Government Relations & Counsel, Chris Jones at