Pennsylvania’s Act 112 prohibits the sale of tobacco products to minors, and federal law bans the sale of all tobacco products including e-cigarettes and vaping pens (known as Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, or ENDS) to those under 21 years of age.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has authorized Tobacco Free Allegheny to conduct compliance checks on all tobacco retailers in Allegheny County. Currently we have teams of adults and minors in the field to ensure that retailers are in compliance with the law.
The Synar Amendment was developed in the context of a growing body of evidence about the health problems related to tobacco use by youth, as well as evidence about the ease with which youth could purchase tobacco products through retail sources. Evaluation results show that the Synar program has reduced youth access to tobacco through retail sources.
States have made considerable progress in attaining the goals of the Synar legislation. This includes legislation that:
- Restricts tobacco vending machines
- Requires “age of sale” signs
- Creates a graduated system of civil or criminal penalties for outlet owners and/or clerks
- Requires statewide merchant education
- Specifies state enforcement authority
- Requires random, unannounced inspections
- Requires licensure of tobacco retailers
- Allows underage youth to conduct compliance checks
- Provides immunity to youth who conduct compliance checks
The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Tobacco Retail Compliance
To protect the health of future generations, FDA closely monitors retailer, manufacturer, importer, and distributor compliance with Federal tobacco laws and regulations and takes corrective action when violations occur.
On June 22, 2009, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act) became law granting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to regulate the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products to protect the public health generally and to reduce tobacco use by minors. Currently the law applies to cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and cigarette tobacco.
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.
Retail managers and associates play a critical role in restricting youth access to tobacco products. We’ve created a free toolkit that is meant to serve as a guide that will help you, and your employees, understand and follow the law.