FDA Raises the E-Cig Purchase Age to 21


The U.S. Food and Drug Administation (FDA) has officially changed the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21. The minimum age applies to all tobacco products and includes e-cigarettes and vape pods.

Last week, we reported about the decision to raise the e-cig buying age to 21. The provision was included in a $1.4 trillion spending package and was signed by President Trump on December 20, 2019. The decision to raise the minimum age had bipartisan report but the date of implementation was unclear at signing.

Nineteen states and hundreds of municipalities already had tobacco 21 laws in place. The complex relationship between the US Military and vaping remains cloudy, as there is no carve out or exception that allows active duty members of military to purchase tobacco. E-Cigarettes are pointedly and specifically covered by this new law.

FDA Acted Quickly

The FDA had up to 180 days to update their regulations, and the change was expected to take hold 90 days later. Convenience Store News anticipated the law would not go into effect for 9 months.

Rather than a slow implementation of the federal tobacco 21 law, the FDA updated their website this morning with the following statement:

Note: On December 20, 2019, the President signed legislation to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and raise the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years. It is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product – including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes – to anyone under 21. FDA will provide additional details on this issue as they become available.


Tobacco 21 Enforcement

The FDA has yet to update their 2016 “Covered Tobacco Products” rules, which require that establishments check the photo ID of every under the age of 27 who attempts to purchase a tobacco product.

At Vapor4Life, we card every customer who comes through the door, regardless of age. We are compliant with all relevant state, federal and local laws and go above. In fact, we go above and beyond by using industry leading age verification software.

Vapor4Life.com has no interest in selling our products to anyone under the age of 21 and have long felt that what has been framed as the teen vaping epidemic poses an existential threat to the vaping industry, ash free cigarette alternatives and the flavors that adults prefer.

The CDC Youth Tobacco Survey 2019 demonstrated that flavors are not why kids vape but the danger of new strict e-cig laws that punish marginalized groups remains a distinct possibility.

The CDC investigates Why Kids Vape

A city known for humane harm reduction policies to product the users of illicit drugs, San Francisco, was once viewed as the bastion for LGBTQ+ rights. Yet the San Francisco e-cig ban punishes the groups most likely to vape instead of smoke and lack the mobility to obtain cigarette alternatives through other channels.

On the subjects of adults, we also are not interested in selling our products to anyone who does not already smoke or vape. Our goal is to help smokers switch from combustible cigarettes to vaping. Once the switch is made, we offer multiple nicotine strengths and desire for our customers to gradually reduce the nicotine strength that they vape with the end goal of a vaping and cigarette free lifestyle.

To stay up to date on state and local e-cig restrictions, make sure you check out our Vape Ban Laws by State Resource Page.