Smoking age

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The minimum legal age to purchase or smoke cigarettes or tobacco products varies from country to country. Ages range from 15[citation needed] to 21.

Minimum age to purchase tobacco in North America as of 2014:
  Minimum age is 21
  Minimum age is 19
  Minimum age is 18
Minimum age to purchase tobacco in Europe as of 2014:
  Minimum age is 18
  Minimum age is 16


Country
Region
Smoking age
Purchase age
Note
 Algeria Africa None 16 In Algeria, one must be at least 16 years of age to purchase cigarettes. Vending machines in the country are prohibited from selling tobacco products in order to prevent the dangers of smoking.
 Mauritius Africa 18 18 A person must be 18 years old to purchase or to smoke cigarettes including any tobacco products as is indicated in Public Health (Restrictions on Tobacco Products) Regulations 1999, Sec. 2(e)(i).
 South Africa Africa 16 18 Cigarettes and any other tobacco products may not be sold to persons under the age 18. It is also it illegal to smoke in public areas unless in a specific demarcated smoking zone. It is also prohibited to smoke in private vehicles with minors under the age of 12.[1]
 Tunisia Africa None None Vending machines are banned. [Law No. 98-17 of 23 February 1998 on the prevention of the damage caused by tobacco consumption]
 Zimbabwe Africa None 18
 Bangladesh Asia 15 15
 Bhutan Asia Banned Banned In 2005, Bhutan became the only country to place an outright ban on smoking and other uses of tobacco products.[2]
 Georgia Asia 16 18
 Hong Kong Asia None 18 Vending machine selling tobacco are prohibited. The law is also strictly enforced in Macau.
 India Asia 18 18 In some states sale of products containing tobacco is banned in and near the premises of schools. The sale must not take place anywhere within a radius of 100 yards near such educational institutions.
 Indonesia Asia 18 18 Advertising of tobacco allowed on television between 21:30 and 05:00. There was no minimum age in Indonesia, for both smoking and purchasing cigarettes, as of January 2012.[3] The minimum age is 18.[4]
 Iran Asia 18 18
 Israel Asia 16 18 The sale of tobacco to people under 18 is illegal. Printed advertisements are prohibited from including names, appellations or photos of celebrities and persons under 40. The legal smoking age is 16. Persons in uniform and persons in sport dress or bathing suits per Tobacco Products for Smoking (Restriction on Advertising) Law, 5743-1983.
 Japan Asia 20 20 Supplying tobacco to persons under 20 is punishable by a ¥10,000 fine.[5]
 Jordan Asia 18 18
 Kazakhstan Asia None 18 Sale of tobacco to those under 18 is illegal. Advertising to minors and vending machines are also prohibited.[6]
 Kuwait Asia 21 21
 Kyrgyzstan Asia None 18 Sale of tobacco to those under 18 is illegal.[7]
 Macao Asia 18 18
 Malaysia Asia 18 18 It is an offense to sold cigarettes to underage persons. There are no legal age on both smoking and sale of tobacco until 1993.
 Maldives Asia 18 18 The legal smoking age is 18 per Measures Taken to Reduce the Use of Tobacco,Sec.5.
 Mongolia Asia 18 18
   Nepal Asia None 18
 Pakistan Asia 18 18 The minimum age to purchase tobacco is 18, which is self-imposed by distributors and retailers. Eighteen is also the smoking age. The sale of tobacco products through vending machines is banned. [RPPL 4–25 Sec.4(3);Regulations Governing Sale of Tobacco Products Sec.4]
 Philippines Asia 18 18 Only people over 18 may buy cigarettes and tobacco due to the "STOP for Health Act". (Stop Tobacco and Other Products for Health)[8]
 Saudi Arabia Asia 18 18 The sale to persons under 18 is prohibited. Contrary to that, most salesmen sell cigarettes to minors in Saudi Arabia. Acquiring tobacco products is very easy for minors despite the law.
 South Korea Asia None 19 Cigarettes can not be sold to persons under 19 [Law No. 4914, Sec. 9].

Vending Machines: Restricted [Law No. 4914, Sec. 9][8]

 Syria Asia 18 18 The minimum age is 18. [Presidential Decree No. 13 of September 1996]
 Singapore Asia 18 18 Sale of cigarettes to under 18 is punishable by law, however Health Sciences Authority urges Singaporeans to quit smoking. Smoking under the age of 18 is an offense, however those who are in school uniform or below 11 years old will lose their licenses immediately. The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) encourages all Singaporeans to quit smoking as it is bad for lungs.
 Sri Lanka Asia 21 21
 Taiwan Asia 18 18 Selling cigarettes to persons under the age of 18 is an offense.
 Thailand Asia None 18 One must be over 18 to buy. [Tobacco Products Control Act, BE 2535, Sec.4]

Vending Machines:Ban[Tobacco Products Control Act, BE 2535, Sec.5][8]

 Turkey Asia 18 18 The minimum age is 18. [The Law on the Prevention of Harm Induced by Tobacco Products, Law No. 4207, Article 3]
 United Arab Emirates Asia 18 18 http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?section=theuae&xfile=data/theuae/2010/may/theuae_may735.xml
 Albania Europe None 18[9]
 Austria Europe 16 16 [10]
 Belarus Europe None 18 [8][11] (Advertising of tobacco is prohibited on television and radio from 07:00 to 22:00, on the first and last pages of newspapers or magazines or at or near sports centres or public health facilities. Tobacco advertising may not describe the properties of the product, nor show the cigarette. The product package may be showed only on point of sale advertising. This may not link product consumption to success or mental or physical wellbeing.[11])
 Belgium Europe None 16[12] (The law is strictly enforced, in both Flanders and Wallonia)
 Bosnia and Herzegovina Europe None 18
 Bulgaria Europe None 18 [13]
 Croatia Europe None 18 The legal smoking age is 18. Signage is required per the Law on the Restricted Use of Tobacco Products, Article 7. Cigarette machines selling tobacco are prohibited per The Law on the Restricted Use of Tobacco Products, Article 8.
 Cyprus Europe None 18 [14]
 Czech Republic Europe None 18[15]
  • Selling tobacco products to anyone under 18 is prohibited.
  • Sale of tobacco products and tobacco through vending machines is permitted if the tobacco pruchase age is not violated.
  • The seller shall place a clearly visible notice displaying the sale restrictions of tobacco to person under the age of 18.
  • A person selling tobacco must be 18 years or older, unless the minor is preparing for a future career in the hotel or tourism industry, as a cook-waiter or salesman.
 Denmark Europe None 18[16] Smoking is banned in all Ministry of Health workplaces and in meetings of public councils, boards, and commissions unless all participants agree to permit smoking per Circular of 23 March 1988 of the Ministry of Health on the provision of nonsmoking environments on public premises, means of transport, etc. The agreement applies to all tobacco products, including cigarette paper and tubes, bans the use of models, actresses or actors appearing to be under 30 years, celebrities, health personnel, and sports personalities in ads; press advertising is restricted to a single page (Code of practice between the tobacco industry and the government, latest update in 1992).

(16 prior to 1 September 2008)

 Estonia Europe 18 18 (The legal smoking age is 18 per Tobacco Act, Chapter 2,Sec.17(1)(1). Sale of tobacco is prohibited in health care institutions, education institutions, and sports establishments per Tobacco Act, Chapter 2,Sec.17(1)(5).The minimum age to purchase tobacco is set at 18 per Decree on the Measure to Reduce Tobacco Smoking, Sec.12; Act on the Measures to Reduce Tobacco Smoking,Sec.11.[8] Tobacco Vending Machines, sale of individual cigarettes and the distribution of Tobacco for free is illegal.[8])
 Finland Europe 18 18 Prior to 1995, the legal age on purchasing and use of the cigarettes was 16. Beginning March 1995, selling cigarettes to persons under 18 is an offence and beginning October 2010, smoking of cigarettes by minors is an offence.
 France Europe None 18 (16 prior to March 2009. Persons under 18 cannot smoke in schools per the Evin Law (passed in November 1992, effective 1 January 1993). Smoking is prohibited in schools receiving people under 16 per Law No. 76-616 of 9 July 1976 concerning measures to combat smoking.[17] Vending machines outside tobacco shops are forbidden per Directive 2 K-1-89 of 19 December 1988. The directive was approved 19 December 1988 and effective 21 November 1989. In 2009, France made it illegal for persons under the age of 18 to buy cigarettes.[18] Previously, selling cigarettes to persons under the age of 16 was illegal.)
 Germany Europe 18 18 [19] The Protection of Young Persons in Public Act states that children and young people under 18 years of age shall not be permitted to smoke in public per the law on the protection of juveniles in public (as of 1 September 2007, previous age limit was 16). Television and radio advertising is banned. Advertisements that create the impression that the consumption or the proper use of tobacco products is harmless to health or is likely to have a favorable effect on the functioning of the body and physical performance, are likely to induce juveniles or adolescents to smoke, make it appear that inhaling of tobacco smoke is something to be imitated, or suggest that tobacco products are natural or pure are banned per the law of 15 August 1974 for the overall reform of foodstuffs law. No advertising elements typical to the environment of young people, media stars, sports personalities, or models under 30. The use of the terms "mild" and "light" are limited per Voluntary Restrictions on Advertising.)
 Greece Europe None 18 (Nobody under the age of 18 is permitted to buy cigarettes or tobacco products, however this is rarely enforced.)
 Hungary Europe 18 18 (The legal smoking age is 18 per the Law on the Protection of the Rights of Non-Smokers and on the Prevention of Health Damage Related to Smoking, Sec. 2, version b. The sale of tobacco is prohibited within 200 m of schools and health care units per the Law on the Protection of the Rights of Non-Smokers and on the Prevention of Health Damage Related to Smoking, Sec. 2. Vending machines selling tobacco are restricted. Children and persons under 18 cannot smoke anywhere even in the places where smoking is allowed. Tobacco cannot be sold to minors under 18 years or distributed as free samples per the New Tobacco Act (submitted to Parliament in 1996, passed in April 1999, effective November 1999).)
 Iceland Europe None 18 Vending machines selling tobacco are banned. No tobacco may be sold in schools or institutions for minors. Smoking in schools, day nurseries, buildings intended for social and leisure activities of people under 18, and health centers are prohibited per Law No.6 of 31 May 2002 on the prevention of the use of tobacco.
 Ireland Europe 18 18[20] (The sale of tobacco to persons under 18 is illegal. It is illegal to buy or smoke cigarettes if you are under the age of 18.[20])
 Isle of Man Europe None 18
 Italy Europe None 18 Translated from the Italian Ministry of Health tobacco regulation document: 'The Italian regulations on tobacco, with the overall objective of protecting the health of citizens, particularly young people, prohibits the sale and supply of tobacco to minors under 18 years of age, who are also banned from smoking in public places.'
 Latvia Europe 18 18 The sale of tobacco products to persons under the age of 18 is prohibited per Tobacco Products Manufacture, Sales, Advertising And Smoking Restrictions (approval date 18 December 1996, effective date 1 January 1997). Cigarette vending machines are also prohibited.
 Lithuania Europe None 18 The legal age of purchase is 18 per Law on Tobacco Control, Article 14. The sale of tobacco is prohibited in pharmacies, health care institutions, educational institutions, and retail enterprises where 50% or more of the goods available are intended for children. Smoking is prohibited in all educational and healthcare institutions and areas thereof, restaurants, coffee shops, bars without separate designated places for smoking, in general residential and other premises designated for general use, also in premises where sports competitions and other events take place. Tobacco vending machines are restricted per Law on Tobacco Control, Article 15.
 Luxembourg Europe None 16 (The tobacco control law, voted on 11 August 2006, prohibits selling tobacco to minors under 16 years. Only the vendor is punishable under this. The tobacco industry is prohibited from sponsoring events for children. Smoking is prohibited in hospitals, waiting rooms of physicians and dentists, pharmacies, educational establishments, places that receive or house persons under 18 years of age per Law of 24 March 1989 restricting the advertising of tobacco and tobacco products and prohibiting smoking in certain places. This, however, may well be changed in the near future.)
 Macedonia Europe None 16 Over 16 only. (Law on Protection Against Smoking (Tobacco Law), Article 5)
 Malta Europe 16 18
 Moldova Europe None 18
 Montenegro Europe None 18
 Netherlands Europe None 18 The sale of tobacco to persons under 18 is illegal.[21] Smoking of tobacco is prohibited by law in all public buildings and in public transport. As of 1 January 2004 every employee has the right to work in a smoke-free environment. All forms of tobacco advertising, promotion or sponsorship are prohibited. Smoking remains prevalent in the Netherlands despite these efforts. Tobacco can be bought at every supermarked and at other stores.
 Norway Europe None 18 (No age limit for use of tobacco but no sales of cigarettes or Swedish snus to people under 18 by law.[22] Vending machines are only allowed when they are cited inside an approved store, with a demand of buying a receipt from the cashier first.[23] and imitation tobacco products are not allowed. Cigarette commercials are also strictly forbidden by law. As of June 2004, smoking is prohibited in all public places, including restaurants, pubs and work places.)
 Poland Europe None 18[8] (Law of 9 November 1995 on the protection of health against the effects of the consumption of tobacco and tobacco products)
 Portugal Europe 18 18 [24] (Since 2008, the minimum age for purchase and consumption of tobacco is 18. Previously, the minimum age was 16. Advertisements for any kind of tobacco, appearing in or on television, radio, newspapers or magazines are also prohibited. It is an offense to smoke in any public, closed place that does not meet the established requirements (at least 100 m² with an exhauster and an identified zone dedicated to smokers). The offense is punishable with a fine of up to €750 and applies to restaurants, bars, clubs, hotels, malls (except in identified areas), hospitals, schools, workplaces and public transports. There is a proposition to ban vending machines in places accessible to people younger than 18. In an attempt to reduce consumption, taxes and minimum prices of cigarettes have been greatly increased in the last 3 years.)
 Romania Europe None 18 There is a ban on sale of tobacco to those younger than 18.[8] Vending machines selling tobacco are banned. There is no minimum legal age of smoking ("Minimum legal age in Romania").
 Serbia Europe None 18 The sale to persons under 18 is prohibited. Contrary to that, a lot of salesmen sell cigarettes to minors in Serbia.[8] Acquiring tobacco products is very easy for minors despite the law.
 Slovakia Europe None 18 (The minimum age is 18 [Law on Protection of Non-Smokers, Sec.6(3)] and there is a vending machine ban. [Law on Protection of Non-Smokers, Sec. 6(2)(c)])
 Slovenia Europe None 18 The minimum age to purchase tobacco is 16 and there is a vending machine ban. However smoking age is not mentioned in the law as long as the parent is present. [Restriction on the Use of Tobacco Products Act, Sec. 141]
 Spain Europe 18 18 You must be at least 18 to purchase and 18 to smoke tobacco. [Royal Decree 192/2010 of 4 March Regarding Limitations in the Sale and Use of Tobacco to Protect the Health of the Population, Article 5, Sec.1]

Sale is banned in public schools and in health establishments. [Royal Decree 1199/1999 of Implementing Law 13/1998, Article 32, Sec. 1 and Law 13/1998 of 4 May on Tobacco Trade and Tax Legislation, Article 4, Sec. 9; Order of 7 November 1989, Ministry of Education and Science, Article 1] Tobacco can only be bought at licensed stores. "Tabacos" stores.

 Sweden Europe None 18 (Prior to 1997, no legal age on smoking. Starting January 1997, no persons under age 18 are allowed to purchase tobacco products. [Swedish Tobacco Act, Sec.12])
  Switzerland Europe 18[25]  Bern,  Basel-Landschaft,  Basel-Stadt,  Schaffhausen,  Jura,  Neuchâtel,  Nidwalden,  Schaffhausen,  Ticino,  Vaud and  Zug.
16[25]  Aargau,  Appenzell Ausserrhoden,  Fribourg,  Glarus,  Graubünden,  Lucerne,  St. Gallen,  Solothurn,  Thurgau,  Uri,  Valais and  Zürich.
None[25]  Appenzell Innerrhoden,  Geneva,  Obwalden and  Schwyz.
 Ukraine Europe None 18
 United Kingdom Europe 16 in
England and Wales
18 in Scotland and Northern Ireland
18
  •  England and  Wales: It is illegal to sell tobacco to anyone under the age of 18[26] (Could be purchased at the age of 16 until 1 October 2007). The minimum age to smoke in public is 16, and authorities have the duty to seize any tobacco or cigarette papers in the possession of any person apparently under the age of sixteen.[27]
  •  Scotland: The minimum age for sale, purchase, and possession in a public place is 18 (Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010).[28]
 Canada North America None, except 18 in Alberta, 19 in Nova Scotia and 16 in Ontario 18 or 19, varies by province/territory It is illegal to give tobacco to a minor. Legal age to purchase tobacco by province are as follows.[30]
 Cuba Caribbean sea None 16 The Ministry of Commerce Resolution bans the sale of cigarettes to persons under the age of 16.[34]
 Dominican Republic Caribbean Sea None 18 The sale and supply of alcoholic drinks and tobacco products to minors under age 18 is prohibited per Law Number 272.
 Costa Rica Central America 10 18 Sale of cigarettes to minors (younger than age 18 years) is prohibited per Decree No. 17967-S of 4 February 1988. Consumption by children under the age of 10 is prohibited.
 El Salvador Central America 18 18 The legal smoking age is 18. Cigarette sales to minors are banned per Decree No. 955 of 11 May 1988 promulgating the Health Code (Division 41-(Secs.196-190)).
 Honduras Central America None 16 The sale of cigarettes or tobacco products to persons under 16 years of age is prohibited. Since the anti tobacco law was approved and started in 21 February 2011.[34]
 Mexico North America 18 18 A person must be 18 years old to purchase or to smoke cigarettes including any tobacco products.
 Nicaragua Central America None 18
 Trinidad and Tobago Caribbean sea 18 18 One must be 18 years and above to buy and use tobacco products legally. [An act relating to the protection of children and young persons, industrial schools, and orphanages, and juvenile offenders (the Children Act), Chap. 46:01, Laws of Trinidad and Tobago, 17 March 1925][8]
 United States North America 18 18, 19, or 21, varies by State/territory

It is legal for persons under the age of 18 to smoke, however they cannot legally purchase the cigarettes. In both Alabama and Florida, it is illegal for persons under that particular state's legal age to possess tobacco products. These charges are considered youthful, non-criminal offenses that are normally cleared up with community service.[42][43]

In Utah it is a Class C misdemeanor for persons under 19 to possess tobacco products.[44]

When a customer appears to be under a specific age, state and local laws may require retailers to verify age from official documentation.

 Australia Oceania None 18 Sales of tobacco to children under the age of 18 are illegal in all Australian states and territories.[45] It is also illegal for a person over 18 to give a child under 18 cigarettes or tobacco products. It is as well, illegal for a person under 18 to purchase cigarettes The smoking age varies among states and territories but 18 to purchase. In most states it is illegal for any person under 18 to smoke tobacco products however in some states such as Victoria there is no minimum age to smoke just purchase.

If you look under the age of 25, a compulsory age check is required. To smoke Ban on the sale of tobacco to minors under 18 years; restrictions on the distribution of free samples per Order No. 731 of 1990-05-30.|}

 Cook Islands Oceania 21 21 The legal smoking age is 21, and a signature is required per Tobacco Products Control Act (No.3) 1987 Sec.6.
 Nauru Oceania None 16 Not for sale for children under 16 due to the Prohibition of the Possession of Tobacco by Children Ordinance 1924, No.7/1924, Sec. 2.[8]
 New Zealand Oceania 18 18 It is illegal in New Zealand to sell cigarettes and tobacco products to persons aged under 18. It is also illegal for a person over 18 to give a person under 18 cigarettes or tobacco products in a public place. However there are no laws prohibiting somebody under 18 from possessing and/or consuming tobacco in public (unless they are smoking in "any enclosed space" which is illegal in New Zealand for smokers of all ages) [Smoke-free Environments Act 1990, Smoke-free Environments Amendment Act 2003]
 Solomon Islands Oceania 18 18 One must be over 18 [Solomon Islands Tobacco Products Control Act, Sec. 12(1)] and there is a

vending machine ban [Solomon Islands Tobacco Products Control Act, Sec. 13].

 Papua New Guinea Oceania 18 18 No sale to anyone under the age of 18. A person shall not sell or hand over tobacco products to a person who is or apparently is under the age of 18 years, including imitations of tobacco products. [The Tobacco Products (Health Control) Act 1987][8]
 Chile South America 18 18 Prohibition of tobacco advertising in publications designated for minors under 10 years. It is prohibited to offer, distribute, or give free of charge tobacco products to minors under 16 years of age in public places.[46]
 Colombia South America 18 18 Mandate that cigarettes or tobacco may be dispensed only to persons aged 18 and older. (Ley 30 January 1986,"The National Intoxication Statute") Advertising allowed on television between 2300 and 0600 and is limited to 30 seconds for each brand; commercial advertising must devote 20% of transmission time to the warning "tobacco is harmful to health" due to Resolution No. 4063 of 1982 regulating Decree No. 3430 of 26 November concerning restrictions on advertising. A new tobacco control law, voted in July 2009, prohibits—among other changes—the sale of tobacco to minors.
 Ecuador South America 18 19 The consumption of cigarettes and alcohol inside and around all schools (at all educational levels) by staff and students is prohibited per Law No. 2369 of the Ministry of Education and Culture.
 Peru South America 18 18 The General Act on Prevention and Control of the Risks of Use of Snuff (Law No. 28705) was developed by Congress of the Republic.[47] Articles 11 and 12 have the following provisions:
 Guyana South America 18 18

Article 11 .- In the marketing bans

They are:

  • Direct or indirect sale of snuff products in any health or education facilities, whether public or private and public agencies is prohibited.
  • The sale of snuff products to persons under 18 years is banned.
  • The selling of snuff products by persons under 18 years is forbidden.
  • The selling of cigarettes without filters is forbidden.
  • The selling of snuff product packages containing less than five (5) units is forbidden.
  • The promotional free distribution of snuff products, except when in an objective and verifiable manner it can be shown that the recipient is over 18 years, is forbidden.
  • The promotional and/or free distribution of toys similar to snuff products or alluding to them, which may be attractive to minors is forbidden.

Article 12 .- In the provision of vending machines

  • The sale of snuff products in vending machines can only be performed on premises to which access is permitted only to persons over 18 years.

References[edit]

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  43. ^ "FL Act 569 Section 11". 
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