Web Content Viewer
Actions
Tobacco 21
Tabacco 21 Banner

As of October 17, 2019 it is illegal to give, sell, or otherwise distribute cigarettes, other tobacco products, or alternative nicotine products like e-cigarette/vaping products to any person under the age of 21. See Ohio Revised Code 2927.02 (http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2927.02v2) for the law's exact language.

Types of Products Covered by Tobacco 21 Law

  • Cigarettes 
  • Electronic smoking devices (vapes, e-cigs, tanks) 
  • Cigars
  • Pipe tobacco
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Snuff
  • Snus
  • Dissolvable nicotine products
  • Filters, rolling papers, pipes, blunts, or hemp wraps
  • Liquids used in electronic smoking devices (whether or not they contain nicotine) 
  • Vapor products (any component, part or additive that is intended for use in an electronic smoking device, a mechanical heating element, battery, or electronic circuit and is used to deliver the product, see ORC 2927.02 for full list)

Types of Products Excluded from Tobacco 21 Law

Tobacco and vapor products do not include any product that is a drug, device, or combination product as those terms are defined or described in 21 U.S.C. 321 and 353(g) – products such as nicotine replacement therapy for use when quitting tobacco.

For More Information

Download a fact sheet about Ohio's Tobacco 21 law here

If you have any questions not answered by the information on this webpage, please call toll-free 1-855-OHIO-T21 (1-855-6446-821).

Read more about the the different parts of Ohio's Tobacco 21 law:

1. Illegal Distribution of Tobacco Products

2. Penalty for Furnishing False Information

3. Prohibition Against Child Possession of Tobacco Products

4. Affirmative Defense to a Tobacco Charge

Retailer Training 

When selling tobacco products and alternative nicotine products like e-cigarette/vaping products to anyone under the age of 21, both the person selling the products and the owner of the retail establishment may face criminal penalties that increase after the first violation under Ohio's Tobacco 21 law. 

This is a short training video that has been developed for retail establishments and their employees who sell tobacco and vaping products, to explain the Tobacco 21 law and how to comply with it.

View the Synar Amendment, which requires States to decrease youth access to tobacco.

 

Signage

Ohio's Tobacco 21 law requires retailers to post a sign indicating that it is illegal to sell tobacco products and alternative nicotine products like e-cigarette and vaping products to anyone under the age of 21.

The sign must be clearly visible and have lettering at least 1/2 inch high. A sign that meet's the law's requirement can be downloaded here.

Additional Signage is also available:

Window Cling (COMING SOON!).

Vending Machine Sign (COMING SOON!).

Youth Cessation

My Life, My Quit (Ohio Tobacco Quit Line). This program combines best practices for youth tobacco cessation adapted to include vaping and new ways to reach a coach using live text messages or online chat. The program includes educational materials designed for teens creating with youth input and through discussion with subject matter experts and community stakeholders. To enroll, text or call 1-855-891-9989 or visit mylifemyquit.com

This is Quitting (Truth Initiative). This is Quitting is a free text message program created with input from teens, college students, and young adults who have attempted to, or successfully quit, e-cigarettes. The program is tailored by age group to give appropriate recommendations about quitting and also serves as a resource for parents looking to help their children who now vape. Youth and young adults can access the new e-cigarette quit program by texting "DITCHJUUL" to 88709. Parents and other adults looking to help young people quit should text "QUIT" to 202-899-7550. https://www.thetruth.com/articles/hot-topic/quit-vaping

Adult Cessation 

Check out the cessation web page for information on how to quit smoking. 

FAQ

What is the effective date of the law?

October 17, 2019

Are individuals who turn 18 before the effective date of the law exempt from this prohibition?

No.  A “grandfathering” clause was in this section of the budget bill, but this part of the section was vetoed by the governor.  Therefore, starting October 17, 2019, it will be prohibited to sell any tobacco product to an individual who is less than 21 years of age.

To what products does the prohibition apply?

There were some definitional changes to ORC 2927.02 that expand and/or clarify the definition of what is defined as a tobacco product.  Sale of the following are prohibited:

  • Any product made or derived from tobacco or that contains any form of nicotine (if it is intended for human consumption or is likely to be consumed, whether smoked, heated, chewed, absorbed, dissolved, inhaled or ingested by any other means)
  • Tobacco products include, but are not limited to:
      • Cigarette
      • Electronic smoking device
      • Cigar
      • Pipe tobacco
      • Chewing tobacco
      • Snuff
      • Snus
      • Dissolvable products that contain nicotine
      • Filters, rolling papers, pipes, blunt or hemp wraps
      • Liquids used in electronic smoking devices (whether or not they contain nicotine)
      • Vapor products – a product, other than a cigarette or other tobacco product that contains or is made or derived from nicotine and that is intended and marketed for human consumption, including by smoking, inhaling, snorting, or sniffing.  Includes any component, part, or additive that is intended for use in an electronic smoking device, a mechanical heating element, battery, or electronic circuit and is used to deliver the product.

NOTE: Tobacco and vapor products do not include any product that is a drug, device, or combination product as those terms are defined or described in 21 U.S.C. 321 and 353(g) – products such as nicotine replacement therapy for use when quitting tobacco.

Are signs a requirement of the law?

Signs were already required, but this law added the requirement to be clearly visible and legibly printed in letters at least ½ in high.  ODH is working with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (ODMHAS) on updating a model sign.  A model sign will be provided to retailers, along with notification of the changes in law, and the sign will be available for download at OhioTobacco21.gov

Where vending machines selling tobacco, products are permitted under 2927.02(C), a clearly visible notice must be posted, in letters that are legibly printed and at least one-half inch high, and in this specific case, must state “It is illegal for any person under the age of 21 to purchase tobacco or alternative nicotine products.” A model sign is available for download at OhioTobacco21.gov

What are the penalties for violating the laws that prohibit sale of tobacco to those persons under 21?

There are several potential violations.  Please see the attached sheet for a summary of the violations and their penalties.  For more information please see the appropriate sections of the Ohio Revised Code and/or consult your legal counsel.

If I have people under the age of 21 working in my establishment, is this still permitted, after October 17?

If the youth handles tobacco or vaping products as a function of their employment, they may continue to be employed in this capacity.

How is the law enforced?

As of October 17th, there are several organizations that conduct compliance checks for the law.  The United States Food and Drug Administration does a sample of checks in Ohio through a third-party contracted agency.  The Ohio Department of Public Safety/Ohio Investigative Unit is contracted to complete compliance checks throughout Ohio by the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.  Additionally, many local health departments are also conducting compliance checks as part of grant funded activities or as part of stricter local Tobacco 21 ordinances that have been passed in their jurisdictions. 

All compliance checks are unannounced and use trained youth or young adults to conduct the compliance checks.