Tobacco 21

Tobacco Use

  • Adolescence and young adulthood are critical periods of growth and development, young people are more sensitive to nicotine’s addictiveness and can become addicted more quickly than adults.
  • The percent of adults in the El Paso area, 18 years to 29 years, who have smoked 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and now smoke every day or some days is 24%.
  • And adult rates are also rising. In 2014, 14% of adults were using tobacco and in 2016 that rate had climbed to 16.7%.

Tobacco 21

  • It is a law that restricts the sale of tobacco to those 21 years and older.
  • A Tobacco 21 law is meant to reduce social access to tobacco. This means youth who engage with 18 – 20 year old siblings, friends, or other family members who use tobacco can longer get their tobacco from those sources. And according to research this is a primary source of nicotine products.
  • Delaying the age when young people first begin using tobacco will help reduce the risk that they become addicted smokers.
  • The National Academy of Medicine has concluded that raising the sale age to 21 years will have a meaningful positive impact on public health and save lives.
  • Click here to see why Tobacco 21 is a good idea.


  • A law would cover all tobacco products as defined by the state (a cigar; smoking tobacco, including granulated, plug-cut, crimp-cut, ready-rubbed, and any form of tobacco suitable for smoking in a pipe or as a cigarette; chewing tobacco, including Cavendish, Twist, plug, scrap, and any kind of tobacco suitable for chewing; snuff or other preparations of pulverized tobacco; or an article or product that is made of tobacco or a tobacco substitute and that is not a cigarette.
  • Right now those who appear under 27 years of age should be required to show an identification card. The new law will require that anyone who appears under 30 years of age, be carded.
  • To learn more about your rights and obligations under the law download the Retailer Toolkit here.


  • Under the new law penalties will cap at $100 and anyone who is found to have violated the law can ask that the misdemeanor be stricken from their records when they turn 21 years age.
  • The law will not impact those born before August 31, 2001.These individuals, many already addicted to nicotine will be able to access tobacco with a valid identification. For those who want to quit they can access resources by calling 915-534-QUIT or logging onto
  • Any law enforcement agency or authorized organization/agency given authority to enforce the law can issue a citation. Any citizen can report a suspected violation to their local authorities.
  • To learn more about the law download the Community Toolkit here.



  • Do you want to learn more about getting involved in fighting big tobacco? The Texas Say What program is Texas based and gets you involved in policy in the state and your community. Visit to learn more
  • Did you know that vaping products, especially pod-mods that use nicotine salts all have nicotine? Trust.

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