legal age to buy cigarettes

Understanding the Legal Age to Buy Tobacco Products

legal age to buy cigarettes

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‍legal age to buy cigarettes
In today’s society, there are various laws and regulations in place to protect public health and safety. One such law relates to the legal age to buy tobacco products. It’s important to understand these laws to ensure compliance and promote a healthier environment. In this article, we will explore the legal age requirements for purchasing tobacco products, both at the federal level and in the state of Texas.

Federal Law on Age Restrictions

The legal age to purchase tobacco products in the United States is determined by federal law. In 2019, the U.S. Congress raised the minimum age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21 years old, with no exceptions 1. This change was enacted through Title 21, Chapter 9, Subchapter IX of the United States Code. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for enforcing these laws and has provided detailed information about the age restrictions on its website 2.

Age Requirements in Texas

In addition to federal law, each state may have its own specific regulations regarding the legal age to buy tobacco products. In Texas, a law was passed in 2019 that raised the minimum age requirement for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21 years old 3. This law can be found in Chapter 161 of the Texas Health and Safety Code.

Exceptions in Texas Law

While the general rule in Texas is that individuals must be 21 years old to purchase tobacco products, there are a few exceptions that should be noted. The law includes some “grandfather clauses” that make an exception for certain individuals 3:

  1. Members of the military: Individuals who are at least 18 years old and have a valid U.S. or state military identification card are exempt from the age requirement.
  2. Individuals born on or before August 31st, 2001: People who were born on or before this date are also exempt from the age restriction.

It’s worth mentioning that these exceptions are specific to Texas law and may not apply in other states.

Explanation by the Texas Comptroller

For a deeper understanding of the underage smoking laws in Texas, the Texas Comptroller provides an explanation on its website 4. This resource can be useful for individuals seeking further clarification on the state’s regulations.

Seeking Legal Advice

While this article provides general information about the legal age to buy tobacco products, it’s important to remember that the State Law Library cannot provide personalized legal advice. If you have specific questions or need assistance in understanding how the law applies to your situation, it is recommended to consult with an attorney who specializes in this area of law. They can provide guidance tailored to your unique circumstances.


Understanding the legal age requirements for purchasing tobacco products is essential for individuals, businesses, and organizations alike. By adhering to these laws, we can promote a healthier environment and protect the well-being of our communities. Remember to stay informed about any changes in federal and state regulations to ensure compliance with the law.

If you have further questions or need help finding legal resources on this topic, don’t hesitate to reach out to a librarian for assistance. They can provide valuable guidance and direct you to relevant materials to support your research.



  1. United States Congress. (2019). United States Code: Title 21, Chapter 9, Subchapter IX
  2. Food and Drug Administration. Age restrictions on the sale of tobacco products
  3. Texas Legislature. (2019). Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 161 2
  4. Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Underage Smoking Laws

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