There has been an alarming increase in the use of tobacco products among our young people. To protect their health, Maryland has passed Tobacco 21 (T21), a new law that raises the minimum sales age for tobacco products, including vapes,JUUL® and other pod-based systems, to 21 years old. As a licensed tobacco retailer, you play a key role in ensuring the success of this effort. With your help, we can reduce and eliminate underage access to tobacco products in our state.
BE AWARE. BE RESPONSIBLE.
As of October 1, 2019, selling, distributing or offering to sell tobacco products to anyone under 21 is illegal. You are responsible for upholding the law. Compliance checks will be conducted and enforced on a continuous basis to ensure your store is following federal, state and local laws that prohibit the sale of tobacco to minors. If you are found guilty of selling any tobacco product, including vapes, to underage youth, federal fines are in excess of $10,000 and you could even lose your license to sell tobacco.
Retailers need to:
- Display new T21 signage in a clearly visible location.
- Use a driver’s license or government-issued ID to verify customer age.
- Train all staff on the following steps for every tobacco sale:
- Ask for valid ID from everyone under 27 attempting to purchase tobacco products (federal law).
- Check ID to make sure each customer is at least 21.
- Refuse to sell tobacco products to everyone under 21.*
I.D. THE HEALTH OF OUR MINORS IS A MAJOR CONCERN.
Let’s keep them tobacco-free. Tobacco products, including most vapes, contain the addictive drug nicotine and other dangerous chemicals. Use of e-cigarettes and vapes, like JUUL® and other pod-based systems, increased by 78% among high school youth in just one year. In 2018, over 3 million high schoolers in the U.S. were using some type of vaping product. This led the U.S. Surgeon General to warn that e-cigarette use among youth is now an epidemic. Nicotine can cause delays in brain development of young people and chemicals found in vapes can cause permanent lung damage. Some have started to use other tobacco products with exposure to known cancer-causing chemicals. Most adults who use tobacco reported they started by the age 21. For these reasons, raising the sales age to 21 helps reduce underage access to e-cigarettes and other tobacco products, which reduces the likelihood of them ever starting to use tobacco.