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Alabama Tobacco Laws

Tobacco Minimum Age Raised to 21

On December 20, 2019, President Donald Trump signed legislation to raise the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years. It is now illegal for retailers to sell any tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes, to anyone under the age of 21. Prior to this change, the minimum age to buy tobacco products in Alabama was 19. Read our full news release on the change.

Laws Specific to Alabama

Since the passage of the Alabama Clean Indoor Air Act in 2003, Alabama has been purposeful in passing laws to make it illegal and harder for children and adolescents to purchase tobacco products as evidenced by:

Alabama Act #2019-233 (HB41) went into effect on August 1, 2019. The act introduces major changes for retailers who advertise and/or sell alternative nicotine products, including vape devices and liquids, in the state of Alabama. These changes are geared toward limiting marketing that targets minors, as well as limiting minors' access to alternative nicotine products.

Major changes include:

  • The sale of alternative nicotine products to anyone under the age of 19 is prohibited.
  • The Alcohol Beverage Control Board is responsible for the regulation of e-cigarettes and vape products.
  • Advertising cannot categorize alternative nicotine products as healthy options to replace smoking.
  • Billboards advertising vaping liquid are limited to the advertisement of three flavors: tobacco, mint, or menthol.
  • Vape shops are required to have a tobacco permit.
  • Opening vape shops within 1,000 feet of a school, church, youth center, daycare center, or public library, playground or park is prohibited.

Alabama Act 2009-578 (HB391) prohibits distribution of tobacco products to minors, requires that proof of age be checked upon purchase of tobacco products and removes all tobacco products in retail setting from public access.

Alabama Act 97-423 prohibits access to tobacco and tobacco products by minors and thereby prevent:
(1) the possibility of addiction to tobacco or tobacco products by minors.
(2) potential health problems associated with the use of tobacco or tobacco products.
(3) failure by this state to comply with federal guidelines or grant funding requirements, when applicable, which relate to the establishment by the state of programs and policies dealing with the sale of tobacco or tobacco products to minors.

Alabama Act 2009-630 (SB311) - also known as the Reduced Cigarette Ignition Propensity Standards and Firefighter Protection Act requires that no rolled tobacco product may be sold in Alabama unless it has been tested in accordance with the American Society of Testing and Materials and met the standards set forth by the State Fire Marshall.

Alabama Act 2013-383 (HB286) - amends Sections 28-11-2 and 28-11-13, Code of Alabama 1975, relating to the sale, use, possession and transportation of tobacco and alternative tobacco products so as to include electronic cigarettes, electronic cigars, electronic cigarillos and electronic pipes.

Alabama lawmakers continue to seek to provide more comprehensive protections from secondhand smoke. Review the bills proposed in the current legislative session. In addition to the Alabama Clean Indoor Air Act, many municipalities have passed local ordinances to protect citizens from secondhand smoke. Review city ordinances.

Related Tobacco Taxes

Numerous economic studies have documented that increases in cigarette taxes or prices reduce both adult and underage smoking. The general consensus is that every 10 percent increase in the real price of cigarettes reduces:

  • overall cigarette consumption by approximately three to five percent
  • reduces the number of young-adult smokers by 3.5 percent
  • reduces the number of kids who smoke by six or seven percent.

Alabama Act 2004-545 (HB716) - increases the state tax on cigarettes from 16.5 to 42.5 cents per pack and doubles the tax on other tobacco products. It further requires the use of tax stamps by municipalities for the sale of cigarettes. Tax rates on tobacco products other than cigarettes (snuff, smoking tobacco, chewing tobacco, and cigars) vary based on weight and retail selling price of the products.

Page last updated: April 11, 2022