Federal Tobacco 21

  • Published: January 9, 2020
  • Updated: February 15, 2024

2019 was a landmark year in the longstanding effort to federally raise the age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21. The movement’s origins can be traced to 1996 when the Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation was established with the goal of reducing the toll of smoking and tobacco through preventive efforts.

Prior to the federal government passing Tobacco 21, 31 states and over 530 American cities had already taken their own efforts to raise the minimum tobacco purchase age to 21. Bipartisan legislation gained momentum in summer 2019 and the provision was added to the federal budget signed on December 20, 2019. However, there are still opportunities to help strengthen enforcement on a local, state, and national level.

The Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation created a comprehensive FAQ highlighting the key points of federal Tobacco 21 policy.