Minimum Sales Age for Tobacco Products Raised to 21

On December 20th, 2019, President Donald Trump signed legislation raising the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a statement: “It is now illegal for retailers to sell tobacco products– including cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes, to anyone under 21.”

A report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies published in 2015 showed that raising the minimum age of sale from 18 to 21 could prevent the deaths of 223,000 people born between the year 2000 and 2019. This includes reducing deaths from lung cancer, the nation’s leading cancer killer, by 50,000. Since the publication of that report, 19 states had raised the minimum age of sale until December 2019, when the President signed the bill into federal law. The law immediately took effect and it is now illegal in all 50 states to sell tobacco products to any individual under the age of 21.

With youth vaping at epidemic proportions, Tobacco 21 is a step in the right direction but much more could be done to save lives. To learn more about the new legislation and for details and updates, visit the FDA’s website.


Institute of Medicine of the National Academies . (2015, March). Read “Public Health Implications of Raising the Minimum Age of Legal Access to Tobacco Products” at Retrieved January 14, 2020.

Selling Tobacco Products in Retail Stores. Retrieved January 14, 2020.