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Tobacco Products

Nicotine Product Law Changes Effective July 1, 2019

Effective July 1, 2019, no sales of tobacco, alternative nicotine or nicotine vapor products are permitted to persons less than 21 years of age, except for active duty military personnel. This includes cigarettes, cigars, bidis, smokeless tobacco and wrapping papers, as well as electronic cigarettes and alternative nicotine products.

  • The sale of single cigarettes is not permitted.
  • Tobacco products may be sold from a vending machine only if the machine is (a) posted with a notice, in a conspicuous manner and place, indicating that the purchase or possession of tobacco products by persons under 21 years of age is unlawful and (b) located in a place that is not open to the general public and is not generally accessible to persons under 21 years of age.
  • Do not sell nicotine products to anyone, even if they are of age, whom you know or believe is buying on behalf of a person under 21 years of age.

At all times, carefully check IDs to determine if the person is under 21 years of age.

Signage Requirement

Retailers should post a sign stating the sale of these products to any person under 21 years of age (effective July 1, 2019) is prohibited by law, with the exception of active duty military personnel.

Retailers should remove any signage related to nicotine product usage at 18 years old and replace with the ready-made sign below, which reflects this new law. Do Not Sell stickers with the new minimum age will be mailed to retailers in December 2019.

Download a ready-made sign. (PDF)

Active Duty Military

According to COV 18.2-371.2, subsection D in the Code of Virginia:

The provisions of subsections B and C shall not apply to the sale, giving, or furnishing of any tobacco product, nicotine vapor product, or alternative nicotine product to any active duty military personnel who are 18 years of age or older. An identification card issued by the Armed Forces of the United States shall be accepted as proof of age for this purpose.

The Common Access Card (CAC) (pictured below) is an acceptable form of identification for active duty military personnel. The Uniformed Services ID Card is not an acceptable form of identification, as it is not for active duty personnel.

Common Access Card

Image courtesy of US Department of Defense ID Card Reference Center

Revised June 20, 2019

Need Help?

This information is meant for general guidance only. For specific questions, contact your ABC special agent. To view ABC laws and regulations, visit Virginia’s Legislative Information System.
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