Tobacco 21 Passed on the Federal Level. The Tobacco Sales Age is Now 21 Across the United States and is Enacted by the FDA.


After nearly 20 states – including Pennsylvania – and over 500 localities have risen the tobacco sales age, Tobacco 21 has now passed on the federal level as of December 20, 2019. This law has been enacted by the FDA and is now being enforced across the country.

For questions about what a national Tobacco 21 law now means for retailers, visit the FDA’s website here.


According to a 2015 report from the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine), a nationwide minimum legal age of sale of 21 will:

  • Immediately improve the health of adolescents and young adults;
  • Decrease tobacco use among adults by 12% by the time today’s teenagers become adults;
  • Prevent 223,000 premature deaths due to tobacco use;
  • Result in 50,000 fewer lung cancer deaths; and
  • Save 4.2 million years of life that would otherwise be lost to tobacco-related premature death among those born between 2000 and 2019.[v]
Foot Notes

[i] Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. The Toll of Tobacco in Pennsylvania. 2016. Available

[ii] Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Public Health Implications of Raising the Minimum Age of Legal Access to Tobacco Products. Report Brief, March 2015. Available