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Minimum Age
State

21 is the state law minimum age.  Under state law it is illegal for any retailer or other person to sell, give, or supply any tobacco product, alternative nicotine product, or vapor product to a person under the age of twenty-one.  

Age Identification Requirement:  All persons engaging in the retail sale of tobacco products engaging in the retail sale of tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, or vapor products shall check the identification of any tobacco purchaser to establish the age of the purchaser. A person shall verify age by submitting a driver’s license, selective service card, or other lawful identification which on its face establishes the age of the person as twenty-one years or older and there is no reason to doubt the authenticity or corrections of the identification.

Age of Employee:    It shall not be unlawful for a person under the age of twenty-one to accept receipt of a tobacco product, alternative nicotine product, or vapor product from an employer when required in the performance of such person's duties.

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

Tobacco products (including cigars, cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and smoking tobacco), alternative nicotine products (non-combustible product containing nicotine that is intended for human consumption, whether chewed, absorbed, dissolved, or ingested by any other means) and vapor products such as e-cigarettes (noncombustible product containing nicotine or other substances that employs a heating element, power source, electronic circuit, or other electronic, chemical or mechanical means, regardless of shape or size, that can be used to produce vapor from nicotine in a solution or other form).

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

Driver’s license, selective service card, other lawful identification which on its face establishes the age of the person as 21 years or older with no reason to doubt the authenticity or correctness of the identification.

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

No retailer or retailer employee shall sell or serve Restricted Products to any person under the age of 21 unless such person submits an Acceptable Form of Identification. Retailers and retail employees found in violation will be fined $50 for the first offense, $100 for the second offense, $250 for the third offense and up to $400 for subsequent offenses.

The sale of Restricted Products to any person under the age of 21 by an employee shall be considered an act of the retailer for purposes of license suspension or revocation, or assessment of civil penalties unless: the employer requires employees to attend a state-approved training program; the employee actually attends the program; the employer does not directly or indirectly encourage the employee to violate the prohibited sales provisions. The retailer will not be liable if the violation occurs within the first 180 days of employment and an application has been made for the employee to attend a training program.

The Louisiana Responsible Vendor Program is designed to educate vendors and their employees and customers about selling, serving, and consuming alcoholic beverages in a responsible manner and selling and serving Restricted Products. The training course includes state and federal laws and regulations related to the lawful age to purchase Restricted Products, age verification procedures and requirements, and the health risks and consequences associated with the consumption of Restricted Products, including their addictive nature.

To qualify for, and maintain certification under the Responsible Vendor Program, the retailer shall: (i) enroll in the program and verify that the retailer has read and understands the responsible vendor handbook; (ii) require that each employee selling Restricted Products to successfully complete a server training course offered by an approved training provider within 45 days of being hired; (iii) require each employee selling Restricted Products to take a refresher course at least once every two years; (iv) maintain training verification records for each employee; and (v) post signs on the retailer's premises informing customers of the retailer’s policy against selling tobacco products to underage persons.

The commissioner may suspend or revoke a permit or impose a fine for any violation of Restricted Product laws, rules, and regulations. The Restricted Product permit of a vendor certified as a responsible vendor shall not be suspended or revoked for the first illegal sale of a Restricted Product to an underage person in any twelve-month period.

No vendor may use as a defense to suspension or revocation the fact that he was absent from the licensed premises at the time a violation occurred if the violations are flagrant, persistent, repeated, or recurring. Certification as a responsible vendor shall be considered in mitigation of a vendor's administrative penalties or fines for a server's illegal sale of a Restricted Product to an underage person.

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

None. There are mitigating factors that the state will take into consideration the section on Fines & Penalties.

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

It is unlawful for a person under the age of twenty-one to possess any tobacco product, alternative nicotine product, or vapor product. A violation for possession of any tobacco product, alternative nicotine product, or vapor product is punishable by a fine of up to $50. A violation for buying any tobacco product, alternative nicotine product, or vapor product is a fine of $50 for the first offense, $100 for the second offense, $250 for the third offense and up to $400 for subsequent offenses. A person under twenty-one years of age may not possess these restricted products unless they are accompanied by a parent, spouse, or legal guardian 21 years of age or older, or the person is in a private residence, or the Restricted Products are handled during the course and scope of employment. Violation is punishable by a fine of up to $50 for each offense.

Federal

Not applicable under Federal law

Sign Requirement

State

Retailers are required by law to post signs at each point of sale in not less than 30-point type that can be seen by both employees and consumers that state:

LOUISIANA LAW PROHIBITS THE SALE OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS, ALTERNATIVE NICOTINE PRODUCTS OR VAPOR PRODUCTS, OR VAPOR PARAPHERNALIA AND DEVICES TO PERSONS UNDER AGE 21.

The sign shall also include a notice that displays the telephone number for the Louisiana Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) and the website for the Louisiana Tobacco Quitline (www.quitwithusla.org), as determined by the Louisiana Department of Health. Violators of the signage requirements will be fined up to $50 for the first offense, up to $100 for the second offense, up to $250 for the third offense, and up to $500 for subsequent offenses.

In addition, the Commissioner of Alcoholic Beverage Control may levy a civil penalty of not less than fifty dollars but not more than five hundred dollars for the first offense, not less than two hundred fifty dollars but not more than one thousand dollars for the second offense that occurs within two years of the first offense, and not less than five hundred dollars but not more than two thousand five hundred dollars for the third offense occurring within two years of the first offense. The Commissioner may also, in addition to these penalties, revoke or suspend the retailers tobacco sales permit.

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. Persons under the age of 21 may be enlisted to test compliance, provided parental consent has been given and minors are under the direct supervision of law enforcement officers. The Commissioner of Alcoholic Beverage Control, acting through local law enforcement officials, 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 licenses are vertical with a red "Under 21 Until 00-00-0000" and "Under 18 Until 00-00-0000" to the right of the photo, at the bottom left with a red frame. For additional information about minor licenses, visit 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 07/2021