Tobacco Sales to Underage Purchasers
In 2002, Pennsylvania's Act 112 amended Section 6305 of the Crimes Code and created new fines for clerks and owners of tobacco retail stores. In Nov. 2019, Act 112 was amended again to raise the minimum age of sale for all tobacco products from 18-21. The Act:
- Prohibits sales of tobacco products to an underage purchaser (individuals under 21 years of age).
- Prohibits the furnishing of a tobacco product to underage purchasers (selling tobacco to an individual under 21 years of age).
- Prohibits vending machines to be in any place where an underage purchaser can gain access without the supervision of a parent or guardian.
- Restricts displaying or offering for sale a cigarette out of a pack.
- Restricts access to tobacco products by non-employees.
What Does This Mean for Retailers?
Retailers across Pennsylvania can no longer sell any tobacco product (including e-cigarettes) to anyone under the age of 21. View the Downloadable Resources for Retailers that provide guidance regarding the impacts of these laws on tobacco retail sales.
For more information on Tobacco 21, please refer to Pennsylvania Alliance to Control Tobacco (PACT) website: https://pactonline.org/tobacco-21-retailer-resources/
The goal of this Act is to decrease access to tobacco products for youth and ultimately end illegal tobacco sales to and use by underage individuals in Pennsylvania. In response to this Act, the Pennsylvania Department of Health conducts compliance checks at tobacco retailers across the state to make sure tobacco products are not sold to individual under 21 years of age.
To report a tobacco retailer that is selling tobacco products to underage purchasers, please email the Pennsylvania Department of Health at
RA-DHTobaccoSales@pa.gov. Please include the following information in your email: store name, address, county and the type of product being sold to the underage purchaser.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health also conducts tobacco compliance check inspections on behalf of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
If you witness a retailer selling tobacco to an underage purchaser (individuals under 21 years of age) or other unlawful sales practices, please report it to the FDA.
Report a Potential Tobacco Violation
Examples of Potential Tobacco Product Violations You Can Report to the FDA
Reports can be submitted anonymously; however, reports accompanied by names and contact information are helpful in cases when FDA needs to follow up for more information. The Potential Tobacco Product Violations Form provides an opportunity for the public and other stakeholders to report a variety of potential tobacco product violations that include, but are not limited to:
- Sales to underage purchasers
- Flavored cigarette sales
- Advertising/promotion/marketing restrictions (e.g., Describing the tobacco product as "light," "mild," or "low" or claiming that the product is safer or less harmful without an FDA order in effect; distributing t-shirts or other novelty items with the brand name of a cigarette or smokeless tobacco product; and event sponsorship in the brand name of a cigarette or smokeless tobacco product)
- Free samples
- Vending machines in prohibited areas/self-service display/direct access to cigarette or smokeless tobacco
- Sale of cigarettes in packs of less than 20
Potential Tobacco Product Violations Reporting
For more information, please contact:
Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control
625 Forster Street, Room 1032 Health and Welfare Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120