Tobacco Laws and Enforcement

Report tobacco sales to youth by leaving a message at 1-888-99-SMOKE.

Federal Laws:

Tobacco Control Act 2009

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act), 2009, gives the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products.

According to the FDA, the Tobacco Control Act prevents:

  • Tobacco sales to minors
  • Tobacco vending machine sales
  • Sales of packages of fewer than 20 cigarettes
  • Tobacco sponsorships of sports, entertainment, or social events
  • Free giveaways of sample cigarettes and brand-name non-tobacco promotional items
    *except in adult-only facilities

The Act also:

  • Requires smokeless tobacco product warning labels
  • Ensure that claims about reduced health risk are supported with research evidence
  • Requires listing of ingredients in tobacco products
  • Preserves State, Local, and Tribal authority

Master Settlement Agreement and FDA Youth Sale Law Enforcement

As part of the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's efforts to prevent illegal sale of tobacco products to underage youth, Health Promotion Council and our regional partners conduct periodic "undercover buys". Accompanied by an adult (though they might not enter the store toegether), a 15-17 year old employee will attempt to purchase tobacco without a valid form of photo identification. If the merchant makes the sale, they are later notified and fined, and become enrolled in our Merchant Education program. The youth attempting to make the illegal purchase may ask for cigarettes, cigars, blunts, or e-cigarettes. 

Store clerks are required to ask for ID. If they sell to the youth with or without ID, there is a citation and a $250 fine, and the City or Town officials are notified. Please report violations or contact us here. Youth interested in working on this project may also contact us.  

State Laws:

Act 112 of 2002

Act 112 of 2002, an Act amending Titles 18 and 53 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, prohibiting the sale of tobacco to minors.  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.
The Act:                    

  • Prohibits sales of tobacco products to a minor (individual under 18 years of age).
  • Prohibits the furnishing of a tobacco product to a minor (selling tobacco to a minor).
  • Prohibits vending machines to be in any place where a minor 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.

The goal of this Act is to decrease access to tobacco products for youth and ultimately end illegal tobacco sales to and use by minors 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 minors.

To report a youth tobacco sales violation, click here.

Clean Indoor Air Act 

The Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA), Act 27, signed in 2008, makes it illegal to smoke in a public place or workplaces. The Act also defines what is a "public place", provides a list of examples. Unfortunately, there are some exceptions including private residences (not including apartments or licensed child care facilities), private social clubs and functions "where the site involved is under the control of the sponsor (except where the site is owned, leased, or operated by a state or local government agency) and a wholesale or retail tobacco shop".  

The Act is enforced by compliance checks, as well as financials penalties for those establishments or individuals smoking in prohibited areas. For more information about the CIAA please visit the PA Department of Health website or our partners at Clean Air Council

Please send us reports of violations of indoor smoke-free laws or youth sale laws, the sale of loosies, or any other tobacco-policy related questions or concerns you may have. Thank you!

SUBMIT A VIOLATION REPORT HERE