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State and National Tobacco-Selling Law

n line with April Showers (rain or snow depending on your location) bringing May flowers, tobacco-purchasing changes are actively in bloom. Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Utah, Virginia and Washington have already raised the legal age to purchase tobacco and non-combustible nicotine products from 18- to 21-years-old, according to the Tobacco 21 website. Just days ago, Delaware passed a similar law into effect – it includes vaping products, as well.


Changing or rewriting state-law requires much more than water and sunny skies, especially when tobacco taxes fund state governments. While a few manufacturers have endorsed the 21-year-old purchase age requirement, other national studies confirm 86 percent of youngsters obtain cigarettes not from licensed outlets, but through social interactions with those they know, and those they do not (social sources). This number jumps to nearly 90 percent, when it comes to e-cigarettes.1  


Walgreens is just one of the national retail outlets joining the Tobacco-21 movement.Beginning this Fall, the chain pledges to stop selling tobacco products, including vaping devices, to anyone under the age requirement, at all its locations; the change is already underway in Illinois, where the drugstore is headquartered. All employees will be trained and systems updated to comply with the new company directive.


So, while changes may be on the horizons at the state-level, if Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, has his way, the change could very well occur at the federal-level, too.3


At The BARS Program, we’re committed to monitoring the tobacco age-debate on the local and national stage. We know your brand depends on the sale of tobacco and tobacco-related products. We also know remaining in good-standing with local and federal government is paramount. If you have questions or want to engage in The BARS Program’s compliance-training for tobacco or alcohol, contact us at or call 1-877-540-5500.



1 & 3 CSP Daily NewsFederal Minimum Age to Buy Tobacco May Rise

2 National Association of Convenience StoresWalgreens Joins Tobacco-21 Move

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