The new FEDERAL 21-year minimum age law for all tobacco and vaping products must be followed -- effective Dec. 20, 2019. There are no exceptions to the federal law. Even if the state law minimum-age may be different, the federal law 21-year minimum age must be followed. State law indicates it is illegal to sell, distribute or furnish tobacco products (or e-vapor products) to persons under the age of 18.
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, snuff, smoking tobacco, vapor products, alternative nicotine products (e-cigarettes) and smokeless tobacco.
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.
- Hookah & Pipe tobacco
- Dissolvable tobacco products
- 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.
Driver's license or other generally accepted identification that include a picture of the individual, including but not limited tribal identification cards.
If there is a reasonable doubt as to the individual's age, the seller must require identification.
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.
If the employee is not the owner, the employee responsible for the sale is subject to a $25 tobacco education fee for each violation.
Owners receive verbal notification of the first three violations in a three-year period. The fourth offense within three years will result in a written notice and the fifth offense within a three-year period will result in a $500 tobacco education fee charged to the owner. The sixth offense will result in a three-month license suspension, and the seventh and subsequent offenses within a three-year period are punishable by a one-year license suspension. The person selling the Restricted Product, the establishment manager and the establishment owner, if the owner is a sole proprietor or partner, shall all read state-mandated tobacco education materials upon the finding of a violation.
Under Montana law, it is also a misdemeanor (punishable up to one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine) to “deliver” drug paraphernalia to a person under 18. Montana law defines drug paraphernalia to include objects used, intended for use, or designed for use in ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing marijuana, cocaine and the like into the body, such as metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or ceramic pipes with or without screens, permanent screens, hashish heads, or punctured metal bowls and water pipes.
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.
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 a minor to knowingly attempt to purchase, to possess or to consume Restricted Products. Minors convicted of possessing or consuming Restricted Products are subject to a fine of $50 for the first offense (and/or community service), $75-$100 for the second offense, and $100-250 or adjudication as a youth in need of supervision under the Montana Youth Court Act for third or subsequent offenses. A minor convicted attempting to purchase Restricted Products is subject to a fine of $50 for the first offense (and/or community service) and up to $100 for second and subsequent offenses.
Not applicable under Federal law
Retailers must conspicuously display, on the premises where Restricted Products are displayed and sold, a sign provided free of charge by the Department of Revenue saying:
MONTANA LAW PROHIBITS THE SALE OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS, ALTERNATIVE NICOTINE PRODUCTS OR VAPOR PRODUCTS TO PERSONS UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE.
Failure to post such signs subject violators to a civil penalty of $100.
For additional information, go to: http://wecard.org/state-sign-chart/
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. The Department of Public Health and Human Services coordinates the inspections.
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 with "Under 18/21 UNTIL 00/00/0000" in a red bar vertically to the right of the photo. For additional information about minor licenses, visit: Montana Driver Licensing.
Not applicable under Federal law
See additional information and requirements on advertising, labeling and promotion requirements -- available here.