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Minimum Age
State

21 years old is the minimum-age state law and indicates any person who sells to, distributes to, or purchases tobacco and vaping products for delivery to anyone under the age of 21 commits a Class C infraction.

Federal

Deny sales to anyone under 21 years old for FDA regulated products (SEE Restricted Products section).

Note:  The new federal 21 year minimum-age for FDA regulated products of all tobacco and vaping products (SEE Restricted Products section) was declared immediately effective on December 20, 2019.  This law allows for no exceptions.

You must Check photo ID of everyone appearing under age 30 who attempts to purchase FDA regulated products and verify the customer is of legal age to purchase. This is an each-and-every time requirement (even if you know the person to be of legal are.) If you "carded" them yesterday, you must "card" them again today!

Decline a sale when the customer is underage, has no photo ID, the photo ID contains no date-of-birth or the photo ID has expired.

Restricted Products
State

Any product containing tobacco, electronic cigarettes and e-liquid are age-restricted products.  The term "tobacco" includes chewing tobacco, cigars, cigarettes, snuff that contains tobacco, pipe tobacco and dissolvable tobacco products and electronic cigarettes (a device that is capable of providing an inhalable dose of nicotine by delivering a vaporized solution).  It is illegal to sell tobacco, electronic cigarettes or e-liquid that contains vitamin E acetate.

Federal

FDA regulations apply to these tobacco products.

  • Cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, and roll-your-own tobacco
    • Do NOT break open cigarette packages to sell products in smaller amounts.
    • Do NOT sell single cigarettes, also called "loosies."
    • Do NOT sell cigarette packages containing fewer than 20 cigarettes.
    • Do NOT sell flavored cigarettes, cigarette tobacco or roll-your-own tobacco (other than menthol or tobacco.)
    • Only sell in a direct face-to-face exchange*.
  • Smokeless tobacco
    • Do NOT break open packages to sell products in smaller amounts.
    • Only sell in a direct face-to-face exchange*.
    • Do NOT sell without a health warning label.
  • Cigars
  • Hookah & Pipe tobacco
  • Dissolvable tobacco products
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS), which are products such as:
    • e-cigarettes
    • e-hookah
    • ecigars
    • vape pens
    • advanced refillable personal vaporizers
    • electronic pipes
    • Components and Parts, such as:
      • e-liquids**
      • atomizers
      • batteries (with or without variable voltage)
      • cartomizers (atomizer plus replaceable fluid-filled cartridge)
      • digital display/lights to adjust settings
      • clearomisers
      • tank systems
      • flavors
      • vials that contain e-liquids
      • programmable software
  • Do NOT give away free samples of any of these FDA regulated products or components and parts.  EXCEPTION:  Free samples of smokeless tobacco are only allowed in a "qualified adult-only facility" -- where no person younger than 21 is permitted to enter or be present (or a higher minimum-age if your state or locality has a higher age limit.)
  • Do NOT sell in vending machines UNLESS you operate a "qualified adult-only facility" -- where no person younger than 21 is permitted to enter or be present (or a higher minimum-age if your state or locality has a higher age limit.) Some state laws prohibit tobacco product vending machines. Check your state law.

EXCLUDED from FDA regulation are accessories, such as:  ashtrays, spittoons, hookah tongs, cigar clips and stands, pipe pouches, humidors.

* The sale of cigarettes, cigarette tobacco and smokeless tobacco through vending machines and self-service displays are allowed ONLY in adult-only facilities where no person younger than 21 is permitted to enter or be present (or a higher minimum-age if your state or locality has a higher age limit.)

** Retail establishments, such as vape shops, that mix and/or prepare e-liquids or assemble vaporizers are considered "tobacco product manufacturers."  Many separate regulations will apply.  See FDA regulations for tobacco product manufacturers at www.fda.gov.

Acceptable Forms of Identification
State

A photographic government issued identification card or a similar card issued under the laws of any state or the federal government.

Federal

Unless otherwise required by state or local law, FDA recommends that retailers accept only government-issued photographic identification with the bearer’s date of birth. (e.g., State-issued driver’s license or identification card, military identification card, passport or immigration card) for establishing a legal age to purchase FDA regulated products. The Photo ID is not acceptable if it has expired.

Fine/Penalty Schedule for Selling to Minors
State

The illegal sale of Restricted Products to persons under 21 years old is a criminal Class C infraction punishable by a judgment and fine of up to $500.  In addition, violators are subject to civil penalties of: $400 for the first offense, $800 for a second offense within one year, $1,400 for a third offense within one year and $2,000 for fourth and subsequent offenses within a one year period.  It is a Class B infraction for a person to knowingly sell tobacco, an e-liquid, or an electronic cigarette that contains vitamin E acetate.

The Alcoholic Beverage Commission and Administration shall revoke a retailer's sales certificate upon finding by a preponderance of the evidence that the retailer:

• has committed habitual illegal sale of tobacco to persons under 21-years old.**

• has committed habitual illegal entrance by a minor (for stores where no one under 21 years old is allowed to entry).

** Committing six (6) violations of illegal tobacco or e-cigarette sales to persons under 21 years old within one year's time may result in a revocation of a retailer's sales certificate.

If a certificate has been revoked, the commission may not reinstate or renew the certificate for at least one hundred (180) days after the revocation. The commission may reinstate or renew the certificate only upon a reasonable showing that the retailer shall:

1) exercise due diligence in the sale of tobacco products or electronic cigarettes on the applicant's premises where the tobacco products or electronic cigarettes are sold or distributed; and

2) properly supervise and train the applicant's employees or agents in the handling and sale of tobacco products or electronic cigarettes.

If a certificate is reinstated or renewed, a $1,000 application fee is required.

Federal

FDA has a variety of enforcement tools to address retailers who violate Federal statutes or regulations, including civil money penalties, warning letters, seizures, injunctions, no-sale orders and/or criminal prosecution. Retailers who violate the regulations may also be in violation of state law and subject to state penalties or other related orders. Fines and penalties shown here are as of January 17, 2020.

Affirmative Defense
State

A person accused of selling or distributing tobacco, e-liquid or electronic cigarettes to a person under 21 years old may assert an affirmative defense if: (1) the buyer produced a driver's license bearing the purchaser's or recipient's photograph, showing that the purchaser or recipient was of legal age to make the purchase; (2) the buyer produced a state photographic identification card, or a card issued under the laws of another state or the federal government, showing that the purchaser or recipient was of legal age to make the purchase; (3) the appearance of the purchaser or recipient was such that an ordinary prudent person would believe that the purchaser or recipient was 30 or older.

The Commission may mitigate civil penalties if a retailer provides a training program for its employees that includes at least the following topics: (1) laws governing the sale of tobacco and electronic cigarettes; (2) methods of recognizing and handling customers who are less than 21 years of age and (3) Procedures for proper examination of identification cards to verify that customers are under 21 years of age.

A retailer shall exercise due diligence in the supervision and training of its employees or agents in the handling and sale of tobacco and vaping products on the holder's retail premises. Proof that retailer employees or agents, while in the scope of their employment, committed at least six (6) violations relating to such laws in any one hundred eighty (180) day period shall be prima facie evidence of a lack of due diligence by the retailer in the supervision and training of its employees or agents.

Federal

Federal law provides that the FDA shall adopt regulations that may provide any retailer that implements the “approved training program,” a reduced civil money penalty if that retailer is found in violation. The FDA does not require training, but it recommends retailers train and educate their employees.

Until the FDA issues guidance or regulations on what constitutes an FDA “approved training program,” the FDA indicates “the agency intends to use a lower maximum civil money penalties schedule for all retailers who violate the regulations restricting the sale and distribution of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products, whether or not they have implemented a training program. However, FDA may consider further reducing the civil money penalty for retailers who have implemented a training program.”

Minor Possession
State

A person less than 21 years of age who possesses tobacco, an e-liquid, or an electronic cigarette on the person's person (except in the course of employment) commits a Class C infraction. It is a Class C infraction for an underage person to have in his possession false or fraudulent identification.

Federal

Not applicable under Federal law

Sign Requirement

State

Retailers are required to conspicuously post at the point of sale and maintain the following three (3) signs with lettering at least 1/2 inch in height which states:

THE SALE OF TOBACCO OR ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES TO PERSONS UNDER 21 YEARS OF AGE IS FORBIDDEN BY INDIANA LAW.

SMOKING BY PREGNANT WOMEN MAY RESULT IN FETAL INJURY, PREMATURE BIRTH AND LOW BIRTH WEIGHT.

A sign that displays a toll free number for assistance to callers in quitting smoking, as determined by the state department of health.
Failure to post the required sign is a Class C infraction, punishable by a fine of up to $500.

Retailers that operate as an adult-only facility, such as tobacco only stores or vape stores, are required to conspicuously post on all entrances to the retail establishment the following:

1) a sign in boldface type that states "NOTICE: It is unlawful for a person less than 21 years old to enter this store."

2) a sign printed in letters and numbers at least one-half (1/2) inch high that displays a toll free phone number for assistance to callers in quitting smoking, as determined by the state department of health.

For more information about required signage, contact the Indiana Alcohol & Tobacco Commission, and visit here

ONLINE: Download a pdf of required sign.

For tobacco only stores or vape stores, download this required sign.

See additional required signs here.  

Federal

Effective 8/10/18:  For retailers who sell cigars individually without packaging, there is an FDA sign requirement.   Download We Card's Sign

Alert:  A U.S. District court overturned this regulation in February 2020. However, there are expectations this regulation will be revisited and may be reinstated after ongoing adjustments or legal matters before the courts. Therefore, retailers need to be prepared for this requirement IF it is required once the legal matters are resolved by the court.

Cigars Sold Individually without Packaging - Retailers who sell cigars individually, and not in a product package must post a sign at each point-of-sale that displays all six of the required warning statements per 21 CFR § 1143.5(a)(3).  Each sign must be at least 8.5x11 inches in size; clear, legible, and conspicuous; printed in black Helvetica bold or Arial bold type or other similar sans serif fonts against a solid white background, in at least 17-point font size with appropriate spacing between the warning statements; posted on or within 3 inches of each cash register where payment may be made; and unobstructed in its entirety and read easily by each consumer making a purchase. The required warning statements on the sign must be: printed in a manner that contrasts, by typography, layout, or color, with all other printed material; and capitalized and punctuated as indicated above.  

We Card - FDA Required Sign

 

Compliance Checks
State

As a condition of receiving federal substance abuse block grant funds, federal law requires the state to conduct random, unannounced inspections of tobacco outlets to determine compliance rates. Minors may be used as part of the enforcement action, as long as they are supervised by law enforcement officers and have the consent of a parent or guardian. The Alcoholic Beverage Commission and Administration coordinates the inspections.

Federal

FDA conducts compliance checks of retail stores to determine whether retailers are complying with the new federal law, using:

  • Attempted purchases of tobacco using underage customers.
  • Inspections of stores for other compliance requirements.
  • Inspections of stores in response to public complaints to the FDA’s request for the general public to report suspected store violations (1-877-CTP-1373 or AskCTP@fda.hhs.gov)

The FDA indicates that it will conduct follow-up compliance checks on stores found in violation.

Minor License Visual Characteristics
State

Minor license is vertical with white "Under 21 Until 00/00/0000" in a red bar to right of photo, and/or a black "Under 18 Until 00/00/0000" in a yellow bar placed vertically at the right of the photo. If a driver is younger than 18, the word "PROBATIONARY" is printed beneath the state name bar. See additional information about minor licenses here

Federal

Not applicable under Federal law

Other
State

None

Federal

See additional information and requirements on advertising, labeling and promotion requirements -- available here.

Last updated 02/2021