21 years old is the state law minimum age. It is illegal to sell, give or furnish in any manner a tobacco or vaping product to a person under the age of 21.
Employee Exception: Employees under 21 years of age may handle tobacco or vapor products when required in the performance of the employee's duties.
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, vapor products (e.g., e-cigarettes whether or not they contain nicotine), cigarette rolling papers, cigars, bidis, snuff, chewing tobacco, any other form of tobacco product, and nicotine products.
Cigarettes can only be sold in the original, sealed package in which they were placed by the manufacturer.
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.
A driver’s license or other government-issued photo 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.
Violators shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, subject to a fine of $25-$200 and 10-90 days in jail for each offense; plus an administrative fine of up to $100 for the first offense; up to $200 for the second offense within a two year period; up to $300 and/or a 30-day suspension of the store’s tobacco license for a third offense within a two year period; and up to $300 and/or a 60-day suspension of the store’s tobacco license for a fourth or subsequent offense within one year.
Failure to pay fines within 90 days of an assessment will result in the suspension of the store’s tobacco license until such fines are paid. If the sale is made by an employee, the employee is subject to the fine as well. The owner of the store is subject to an identical fine if the sale is made by an employee who has twice previously been found to be in violation. Employees found in violation may be subject to the suspension of their drivers’ licenses.
Requirement to Inform Retail Employees: Every person engaged in the business of selling tobacco products or vapor products at retail shall notify each individual employed by that person as a retail sales clerk that state law:
- Prohibits the sale or distribution of tobacco products or vapor products to any person under twenty-one (21) years of age and the purchase or receipt of tobacco products or vapor products by any person under twenty-one (21) years of age; and
- Requires that proof of age be demanded from a prospective purchaser or recipient if an ordinary person would conclude on the basis of appearance that the prospective purchaser or recipient may be under twenty-one (21) years of age.
- This notice shall be provided before the individual commences work as a retail sales clerk. The individual shall signify that he or she has received the notice required by this section by signing a form stating as follows:
"I understand that state law prohibits the sale or distribution of tobacco products or vapor products to persons under twenty-one (21) years of age and out-of-package sales, and requires proof of age of purchaser or recipient if an ordinary person would conclude on the basis of appearance that the prospective purchaser or recipient may be under twenty-one (21) years of age. I promise, as a condition of my employment, to obey the law. I understand that violations by me may be punishable by fines, suspension or nonissuance of my driver license. In addition, I understand that violations by me may subject the storeowner to fines or license or permit suspension."
Under Oklahoma law, it is also a felony to “deliver” drug paraphernalia to a person under 18. Oklahoma law defines drug paraphernalia to include objects used, intended for use, or designed for use in ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing controlled substances 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. The term does not include water pipes in which no detectable amount of an illegal substance is found or pipes designed and used solely for smoking tobacco.
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.
Proof that the defendant was shown and reasonably relied upon proof of age, and confirmed the validity of the identification by means of a transaction scan, shall be a defense. Sellers must still exercise reasonable diligence to determine whether the physical description and picture appearing on the Acceptable form of Identification was that of the individual who presented it.
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 persons under 21 years old to purchase, receive or possess Restricted Products, unless required as part of an employee’s duties. It is unlawful for persons under 21 years of age to present false or fraudulent proof of age to purchase or receive Restricted Products. Violators are subject to a fine of up to $100 for the first offense, and up to $200 for the second and subsequent offenses within one year. Failure to pay the fine within 90 days is punishable by driver’s license revocation. The Alcohol Beverage Law Enforcement Commission (ABLE), which is responsible for imposing these fines, shall provide the minor’s parent or legal guardian with notification of the violation.
If a minor is caught in possession of Restricted Products and refuses to tell a law enforcement official or school official where he obtained the Restricted Product when asked, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Such minors that are 16 or older shall be sentenced to a fine of $5.00, or be imprisonment in the jail of the proper county for up to 5 days, or both. If the minor is under 16, the minor shall be certified by the court for such action as said court shall deem proper.
Not applicable under Federal law
Retailers shall conspicuously post a sign specified by the ABLE Commission, which shall include the ABLE Commission toll free number for reporting violations of the Prevention of Youth Access to Tobacco Act, and stating:
IT’S THE LAW. WE DO NOT SELL TOBACCO PRODUCTS OR VAPOR PRODUCTS TO PERSONS UNDER 21 YEARS OF AGE.
Violators shall be fined up to $50 for each day the required sign is not properly posted.
HARD COPY: Contact the ABLE Commission, Legal Division, 4545 North Lincoln Blvd., Suite 270 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105 Main Office: 405-521-3484
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, and has the photo in a red border. UNDER 21 UNTIL 00- 00-0000 is in white text, in a red border. 'LEARNER PERMIT" or "INTERMEDIATE" is in the header of the license. For additional information and/or image go here.
Not applicable under Federal law
See additional information and requirements on advertising, labeling and promotion requirements -- available here.