July 1, 2018: Tobacco Products cannot be sold to any person under 21

On August 2, 2017 LD 1170 passed during 128th 1st Session of the Maine State Legislature, ‘An Act To Reduce Youth Access to Tobacco Products’. The result is that the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21 years of age will not be allowed starting on July 1, 2018. Under this new law (Title 22, Chapter 262-A: RETAIL TOBACCO SALES), a person may not sell, furnish, or give away a tobacco product to any person under the age of 21. The law has an exemption, allowing the sale of tobacco products for those who are 18 as of July 1, 2018.

This exemption means, for the next three years, when checking licenses, anyone born on or before July 1, 2000 is old enough to purchase tobacco products.  After those three years, on July 1, 2021, everyone will need to be 21 to purchase tobacco products. Pending legislation may alter parts of this law, but the Maine CDC will alert tobacco retailers if there are any changes that will impact them.

The Maine CDC, Maine Office of the Attorney General and partners, have created resources to help educate retailers and the public.  In the coming months, you will be mailed these resources:

  • Tobacco 21 Law Frequently Asked Questions document
  • Tobacco 21 Law Notice to post in your establishment
  • Awareness materials, including a window cling, register sticker and customer education card.

Additional copies of these materials will be available at www.MainePreventionStore.org.

Tobacco products include: Any product that is made from tobacco, or that contains nicotine, that is intended for human consumption or is likely to be consumed, whether smoked, heated, chewed, absorbed, dissolved, inhaled or ingested by any other means, including, but not limited to, a cigarette, a cigar, a hookah, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, snuff or snus. “Tobacco product” also means an electronic smoking device and any component or accessory used in the consumption of a tobacco product, such as filters, rolling papers, pipes and liquids used in electronic smoking devices, whether or not they contain nicotine

*Please note the City of Portland has a city ordinance that tobacco products cannot be sold to anyone under 21 years of age. Retailers located within the City of Portland must abide by the city’s ordinance. The grandfathering of “unless the person has attained 18 years of age as of July 1, 2018” per LD1170 does not apply to retailers located within the City of Portland.

Download a copy of the letter sent to Tobacco Retailers.