21 years old is the minimum-age to purchase tobacco and vapor products -- see Restricted Products section. (Both a federal law and a state law set this 21 year minimum-age.) It is illegal to sell, give or furnish tobacco products, vapor products or alternative nicotine products to persons under 21.
Age to Ask for ID: Retailers must ask for ID from any person under 30 years (federal law), or appears to be under 27 years old (state law.) Retailers must verify the person is 21 years of age or older by examining a government-issued photographic identication.
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.
Cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, tobacco snuff, or tobacco in any other form, vapor products or alternative nicotine products.
FDA regulations apply to these tobacco products defined under the Tobacco Control Act as any product made or derived from tobacco or containing nicotine from any source (e.g., synthetic nicotine) that is intended for human consumption.
- 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.
- Hookah & Pipe tobacco
- Dissolvable tobacco products
- Nicotine gels
- Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS), which are products such as:
- vape pens
- advanced refillable personal vaporizers
- electronic pipes
- Components and Parts, such as:
- batteries (with or without variable voltage)
- cartomizers (atomizer plus replaceable fluid-filled cartridge)
- digital display/lights to adjust settings
- tank systems
- 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.
An official Michigan operator's or chauffeur's license, an official Michigan personal identification card, or any other bona fide picture identification which establishes the identity and age of the person.
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.
Persons found guilty of selling tobacco products to minors (persons under 21 years of age) will be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined up to $100 for the first offense, not more than $500 for a second offense, and not more than $2,500 for a third or subsequent offense.
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.
An accused may assert as an affirmative defense that he had in force at the time of the arrest, and continues to have in force, a written policy to prevent the sale of Restricted Products to individuals less than 21 years of age, and that the defendant enforced and continues to enforce the policy.
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.”
It is illegal for minors to purchase, possess or use Restricted Products on a public highway, street, alley, park, or other lands used for public purposes, or in a public place of business or amusement. It is illegal for a minor to present false or fraudulent proof of age for the purpose of purchasing, attempting to purchase, possessing, or attempting to possess Restricted Products. Violators will be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $50.00 per offense, and may be required to participate in health-promotion and risk-reduction programs, and perform community service. Minors may purchase or possess Restricted products as part of their employment, or as part of a state-sanctioned compliance check program.
Not applicable under Federal law
Retailers are required to post a sign near the point of sale, that is conspicuous to employees and customers, which states:
THE PURCHASE OF A TOBACCO PRODUCT, VAPOR PRODUCT, OR ALTERNATIVE NICOTINE PRODUCT BY A MINOR UNDER 21 YEARS OF AGE AND THE PROVISION OF A TOBACCO PRODUCT, VAPOR PRODUCT, OR ALTERNATIVE NICOTINE PRODUCT TO A MINOR ARE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A MINOR WHO UNLAWFULLY PURCHASES OR USES A TOBACCO PRODUCT, VAPOR PRODUCT, OR ALTERNATIVE NICOTINE PRODUCT IS SUBJECT TO CRIMINAL PENALTIES.
If the sign is posted within six feet of point of sale and is conspicuous to both employees and customers, it must be 2 x 4 inches with 20-point boldface type. If the sign is posted more than six feet from point of sale, it must be 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 inches with 36-point boldface type. Copies of the sign are available free from the Department of Health and Human Services.
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.
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.
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 is vertical. "UNDER 18 UNTIL 00-00-0000" and "UNDER 21 UNTIL 00-00-0000" is in red, above the name/address. Date of birth overlaps the shadowed image. For additional information, go here.
Not applicable under Federal law
See additional information and requirements on advertising, labeling and promotion requirements -- available here.