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Minimum Age
State

Customers must be 21 years or older to purchase tobacco products, e-cigarettes and e-vapor products (See Restricted Products section) -- making it is illegal to offer, sell or distribute for commercial purpose at no cost, tobacco products and any electronic smoking device to persons under age. 

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

Cigarettes made of tobacco or of any other matter or substance which can be smoked, or any cigarette paper or tobacco in any form, including smokeless tobacco; and any electronic smoking device that can be used to deliver nicotine or other substances to the person inhaling from the device, including, but not limited to, an electronic cigarette, cigar, cigarillo, or pipe, or any cartridge or other component of the device or related product.

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 driver’s license or photographic non-driver identification card issued by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission or a New Jersey county clerk’s office, or a similar card issued pursuant to the laws of another state, the federal government or Canada.

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

A person who violates this law, including an employee of a retailer, shall be charged as a petty disorderly person and are subject to a fine of up to $500 for the first violation and up to $1,000 for subsequent violations. In addition, a person, including an employee of a retailer, shall be liable for a civil penalty of not less than $250 for the first violation, not less than $500 for the second violation, and $1,000 for the third and each subsequent violation. An adult who purchases a Restricted Product for a minor will be charged as a petty disorderly person.

Upon the recommendation of the municipality, following a hearing by the municipality, the Division of Taxation may suspend or, after a second or subsequent violation, revoke the license of a retail dealer.

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

Violators may assert as a defense that: (1) the purchaser or recipient of the Restricted Product falsely represented, by producing a photo identification, that the purchaser or recipient was of legal age to make the purchase or receive the sample; (2) that the appearance of the purchaser or recipient of the Restricted Product was such that an ordinary prudent person would believe the purchaser or recipient to be of legal age; and (3) that the sale or distribution of the Restricted Product was made in good faith.

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

State statutes do not specifically prohibit possession by a minor.

Federal

Not applicable under Federal law

Sign Requirement

State

A sign must be posted at the point of display and at the point of sale. Signs must be at least 6 inches x 3 inches and in bold letters at least one-quarter inch high state:

A PERSON WHO SELLS OR OFFERS TO SELL A TOBACCO PRODUCT TO A PERSON UNDER 21 YEARS OF AGE SHALL PAY A PENALTY OF UP TO $1,000 AND MAY BE SUBJECT TO A LICENSE SUSPENSION OR REVOCATION. PROOF OF AGE MAY BE REQUIRED FOR PURCHASE.

For additional information, go to: http://wecard.org/state-sign-chart/

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 of New Jersey to conduct random, unannounced inspections of tobacco outlets to determine compliance rates. The New Jersey Tobacco Age of Sale Enforcement [TASE] project is conducted by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) – Division of Addiction Services (DAS) and local health departments (LHD). Minors used in this program are supervised and accompanied by an inspector from the LHD or DAS.

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

Newer minor license is vertical with "UNDER 21 UNTIL 00-00-0000" in red frame around photo with yellow print. For more information and/or image, go to: New Jersey Driver Licensing.

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 12/2019