Raising the Minimum Sale Age to 21

Raising the minimum legal sales age to 21 has been shown to reduce youth initiation of tobacco use, particularly in adolescents aged 15-17.1 Among adults who become daily smokers, 90 percent started before age 19 and almost 100 percent before age 26.1

Although raising the minimum sales age to 21 helps reduce youth access, it alone does not eliminate sales to minors or impact other access channels. For this reason, increasing the age of sale is considered one of several key strategies to be used by cities and towns to reduce youth tobacco use. Together, these strategies reduce youth access to tobacco and reduce the influence of the tobacco industry on young people at the community level.


  1. Institute of Medicine, Public Health Implications of Raising the Minimum Age of Legal Access to Tobacco Products (2015), available at: http://iom.nationalacademies.org/reports/2015/tobaccominimumagereport.aspx