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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Tobacco Products

Retailer Training Videos


Nearly 9 out of 10 adult daily smokers smoked their first cigarette by age 18, the federal minimum legal age to purchase these products.  That’s why everyone—from retailers to health professionals to parents—plays a role in keeping tobacco out of the hands of youth.

FDA’s tobacco compliance and enforcement program ensures that industry and retailers follow existing laws designed to reduce the health burden of tobacco use on the American public and protect America’s youth. The training videos below were created to assist industry and retailers in understanding these laws.


Always Comply with Tobacco Sale ID Requirements

All tobacco retailers and retail employees must follow FDA’s age and ID requirements when selling regulated tobacco products. It’s hard not to be tempted by peer pressure from friends or co-workers. But, by following the regulations, such as not selling to anyone under the age of 18, you can help protect minors from the dangers of tobacco addiction.


Impersonal Modes of Tobacco Sales

Retailers must sell regulated tobacco in a direct, face-to-face exchange – unless the tobacco products are being sold in a location where no minors are present or permitted to enter at any time.

It becomes easier for minors to access regulated tobacco products if they are available via self-service displays and vending machines. But FDA’s regulations are designed to stop kids from obtaining tobacco. Watch the video below to learn more about regulations related to impersonal modes of tobacco sales.


FDA’s Age and ID Requirements for Sales of Regulated Tobacco

FDA’s tobacco compliance and enforcement program includes inspecting tobacco retailers to make sure they are not selling regulated tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18, and that they are checking IDs to verify the age of customers under the age of 27.  The sale of tobacco products to minors is the most commonly observed violation during inspections of retail stores.

Retailers can follow FDA’s age and ID rules by following these steps:

  1. Request photo ID from customers under the age of 27,
  2. Verify the customer’s age using the photo ID,
  3. Verify that the appearance of the customer matches the physical description and photo on the ID, and
  4. Refuse the sale if the customer is younger than 18.

Watch the following to learn more about these rules: