A Growing Trend - Cities Raising the Smoking Age from 18 to 21

A Growing Trend - Cities Raising the Smoking Age from 18 to 21

Why the Age Increase?

With momentum growing, over 370 cities in a dozen or more states have raised the minimum age for tobacco sales from 18 to 21. Raising the age limit is one strategy of curbing the epidemic of e-cigarettes and its popularity with the youth.

The new enacted laws apply to sales for all tobacco related products including e-cigarettes, vaping products, and liquid nicotine products.

Currently, tobacco sales are a major revenue source with cigarette sales making up $99 billion in the US market. And with the boom of the e-cigarette and t-vapor market, revenue is expected to grow from roughly $11 billion in 2016 to $86 billion in 2025. It’s a market that retailers don’t want to miss out on.

Challenges Retailers face for all Tobacco Related Products

With the rise in young users, it’s no wonder that a growing number of US jurisdictions are following in step with a study that highlights the benefit of tighter controls on tobacco retail licensing. It showed that stricter requirements cut the risk of youth tobacco use by one-third to one-half.

As a result, many cities are adopting the tobacco 21 age limit along with tighter tobacco licensing requirements. For instance, enforcement agencies are requiring annual/renewal license fees from all retailers, conducting more regular compliance checks for each store with the use of decoys, and instituting stiffer penalties for underage sales.

Good Business Practice for Tobacco Retailers

In this challenging environment, retailers need to work smarter, not harder. The use of an ID Scanner to electronically verify the age and validity of the ID card is a full proof method to eliminate human error and pass sting operations. The risk of citations and suspensions is eliminated all while promoting your business standing within your community and with law enforcement agencies.

An ID Scanner should be simple, easy to use, and affordable. Web and subscription based solutions are available. However, hardware based solutions yield the best bang for the money. With minimal cost, your ID Scanner can provide years of hassle free use without expensive maintenance or contracts. At the end of the day, your ID Scanner should play an integral part in protecting your tobacco license without draining your wallet.


Sales of tobacco related products and the regulations that guide it are both evolving and growing. It’s imperative that tobacco retailers recognize and stay ahead of the changes. The new age limit increase from 18 to 21 reinforces the importance of good business practice for tobacco retailers – one that incorporates a reliable ID Scanner. Businesses can choose to be reactive or put into place solutions like an ID Scanner to protect their tobacco license.


The Viage ID Scanners offer the most simple, intuitive, and affordable Age and ID verification solution. It continues to perform as the workhorse for tobacco retailers nationwide. The simplicity of the ID Scanners allow intuitive operation with NO user training. And the easy Age view gives the clerk the go ahead to proceed or stop the transaction.

AGE and ID verification is quick and accurate, and memory can be enabled or disabled for compliance records. The owner then has the flexibility to operate seamlessly with any age limit or documentation requirements. The ability to comply with 18, 19, or 21 is easy and never requires tedious software updates or fees.

To learn which model is compatible in your state, click on the state compatibility chart to start shopping (https://viage.com/id-coverage-chart)

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