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Tobacco 21 Heightens Age-Restrictions

Walk into a convenience store anywhere in Ohio, Arkansas or Delaware to purchase tobacco and you’ll come out empty handed if you’re younger than 21-years of age. 13 additional states have adopted similar legislation for the lawful purchasing of tobacco products, while across the country more than 475 cities and counties in 29 states enforce the heightened age requirement.1 These measures are part of an initiative, minimum legal sales age (MLSA) 21 policy, created by a consortium of national public health organizations to curb nicotine-use among America’s youth. Policy advocates include the American Heart Association®, Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids®


In jurisdictions where MLSA 21 policies are in place, states and municipalities have authorization to establish tobacco retail regulations within their boundaries. Sample retail policies include enforcement program creation, funding, penalty structures to suspend or revoke licenses if policies are violated, signage requirements and more.


Don’t gamble on your tobacco retail license. If you operate in a jurisdiction or state where a MLSA 21 policy is in place, avoid confusion and uncertainty by contacting The BARS Program at or 1-877-540-5500. We’re well-versed on state and local jurisdiction for retail tobacco regulations. And remember, although 21-years-old is fast becoming the legal age to purchase tobacco products, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration requires ID checks for anyone under 272, even if the customer is known to store personnel.

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