Tobacco 21 Is the Law of the Land

The minimum sales age for all tobacco products is 21 in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The American Lung Association has advocated for increasing the age of sale for tobacco products from 18 to 21 because it will help save lives. In December 2019, federal legislation was passed by Congress and signed into law by then President Trump that increased the age of sale for tobacco products to 21. The law took immediate effect. The increased age of sale applies to all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Map of the United States shaded in blue to show all states covered by Tobacco 21 Law.

How the Federal Tobacco 21 Law Came to Pass

In March 2015, a report from the National Academy of Medicine revealed that "Tobacco 21" could prevent 223,000 deaths among people born between 2000 and 2019, including reducing lung cancer deaths by 50,000. This landmark report provided the science to support our advocacy efforts.

Momentum for Tobacco 21 increased as cities and states across the nation began to increase their legal sales age for tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Nineteen states and DC passed Tobacco 21 laws prior to passage of the federal law. Since passage, 23 more states have passed laws increasing their state legal sales ages to 21 as of April 2024.

Other Actions Needed to Address Tobacco Use

Tobacco 21 is an important component of a comprehensive public health approach to reducing tobacco use. In addition to Tobacco 21 we need to eliminate all flavored tobacco products, stop online (remote) sales and increase taxes on all tobacco products including e-cigarettes. In addition, FDA must complete and stay up-to-date with its premarket review of all e-cigarettes, hookah, cigars and pipe tobacco.

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Page last updated: May 1, 2024

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