Smoking age

by Jenny Novac on July 1, 2011

The minimum legal age to purchase cigarettes or tobacco products varies from country to country. Ages range from 14 to 21, but 18 tends to be the most common legal .

France

Smoking in european bar

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. 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. Previously, selling cigarettes to persons under the age of 16, is illegal.

Georgia

The sale of tobacco to persons under the age of 18 is banned.

Germany

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

No people under age 16 are permitted to buy cigarettes or tobacco products.

Honduras

The sale of cigarettes or tobacco products to persons under 18 years of age is prohibited.[9] However, they never ID people.

Hong Kong

Selling cigarettes to persons under 18 is not permitted, but there is no legal age on smoking. Vending machine selling tobacco are also not permitted. It is also strictly enforced, in Macau.

Japan

Chinese smoking

It is illegal to sell cigarettes to persons under age 20 in Japan.

Hungary

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

Sales to minors under 18 are prohibited. 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.

India

It is illegal to sell tobacco to anyone under the age of 18 in India.

Zimbabwe

Cigarettes cannot be sold to persons under 16 years of age.

African smoking

Indonesia

There is no minimum age in Indonesia, for both smoking and purchasing cigarettes, as of January 2010.

Ireland

The sale of tobacco to persons under 18 is illegal. Advertising for cigarettes are completely banned (posters, television advertisements).[13] Although 18 is the legal smoking age, Gardai Síochána (Guardians of the Peace) are only allowed to confiscate cigarettes and other tobacco objects off people under the age of 16. Since in-store advertising and displays of tobacco products is outlawed on July 1, 2009, all tobacco products must now be stored out of sight in closed containers behind the counter (accessible by retail staff only) and customers can be shown a card showing all available brands in a pictorial list if they wish to purchase cigarettes. Signs must also be shown informing customers that tobacco is sold at the premises.

Israel

The sale of tobacco to people under 17 is illegal. Printed advertisements are prohibited from including names, appellations or photos of celebrities, persons under 40,the legal age to smoke it 16 persons in uniform and persons in sport dress or bathing suits per Tobacco Products for Smoking (Restriction on Advertising) Law, 5743-1983.

Italy

The legal age to purchase tobacco products in Italy is 16.

Philippines

Philipinnes smoking girl

Only people over 18 may buy cigarettes and tobacco due to the “STOP for Health Act”. (Stop Tobacco and Other Products for Health)

Kazakhstan

Sale of tobacco to those under 18 is illegal. Advertising to minors and vending machines are also prohibited.

Kyrgyzstan

Sale of tobacco to those under 18 is illegal.

Latvia

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

The legal smoking age is 18 per Law on Tobacco Control, Article 10 (8). 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. Tobacco vending machines are restricted per Law on Tobacco Control, Article 10. This, however, may be changed in the near future.

United States

American smoking

Each state and many localities have different smoking laws, which makes the age of smoking difficult to understand, but it is commonly at 18 years of age. Any state may set the purchasing age limit lower than 18 years—but at the loss of grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that otherwise would be given for a natural disaster in the state.
When a customer appears to be under a specific age, state and local laws may require retailers to verify age from official documentation. The tobacco purchase age has been raised to 19 in Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey, Utah, and Nassau, Suffolk, and Onondaga counties in New York.

Luxembourg

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 16 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. On 11 August 2006 a new tobacco control law has been voted. It is now forbidden to sell tobacco products to minors under 16. Only the seller is punishable.

Macedonia

Over 16 only. (Law on Protection Against Smoking (Tobacco Law), Article 5)

Malaysia

Prior to May 1994, there is no legal age on smoking. Starting May 15, 1994, cigarettes can only be sold to persons aged 18 and above, and selling cigarettes to persons under this age is illegal.

Maldives

The legal smoking age is 16 per Measures Taken to Reduce the Use of Tobacco,Sec.5.

Malta

The legal smoking age is 16 for Tobacco (Smoking Control) Act 1986,Sec.14(1)

Mauritius

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. .

Mexico

A person must be 18 years old to purchase or to smoke cigarettes including any tobacco products.

Moldova

Sale to persons under 16 is prohibited.

Montenegro

Sale to persons under 18 is prohibited.

Nauru

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.

Netherlands

The sale of tobacco to persons under 16 is illegal. Smoking of tobacco is prohibited by law in all public buildings and in public transport. As of January 1, 2004 every employee has the right to work in a smoke-free environment. All forms of , promotion or sponsorship are prohibited. Smoking remains prevalent in the Netherlands despite these efforts.

New Zealand

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. It is not, however, illegal for a person under 18 to purchase cigarettes (only the shop-owner is prosecuted), and there is no restriction on the possession and consumption of tobacco for those under 18. [Smoke-free Environments Act 1990, Smoke-free Environments Amendment Act 2003]

Nicaragua

Sale to persons under 16 is prohibited.

Norway

No sales to people under 18. Vending machines 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.

Pakistan

The minimum age to purchase tobacco is self-imposed by distributors and retailers at 18.

Palau

One must be at least 18 to buy.
Vending Machines:Banned ;Regulations Governing Sale of Tobacco Products Sec.4]

Papua New Guinea

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.

Peru

The General Act on Prevention and Control of the Risks of Use of Snuff (Law No. 28705) was developed by Congress of the Republic.

Poland

Minors under 18 may not buy tobacco products. [Law of 9 November 1995 on the protection of health against the effects of the consumption of tobacco and tobacco products]

Portugal

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. Cannabis is also freely smoked.

Romania

There is a ban on sale of tobacco to those younger than 18. Vending machines selling tobacco are banned. There is no minimum legal age of smoking.

Saudi Arabia

The legal age to purchase tobacco and enter hookah lounges is 16

Serbia

The sale to persons under 18 is prohibited. Contrary to that, a lot of salesmen sell cigarettes to minors in Serbia.

Singapore

It is illegal to sell cigarettes to persons under 18, although the legal age for Singaporean people to became an adult according to the Singaporean law is 21 years.

Slovakia

The minimum age is 18 [Law on Protection of Non-Smokers, Sec.] and there is a vending machine ban. [Law on Protection of Non-Smokers, Sec. 6(2)(c)]

Slovenia

The sale to those under 18 is illegal and there is a vending machine ban. [Restriction on the Use of Tobacco Products Act, Sec. 14]

Solomon Islands

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]

South Korea (Republic of Korea)

Cigarettes can not be sold to persons under 19. [Law No.4914 Sec.9] Vending Machines:Restricted[Law No.4914 Sec.9][1]

Spain

One must be at least 18 to purchase and 15 to smoke tobacco. [Royal Decree 192/2010 of March 4 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 May 4 on Tobacco Trade and Tax Legislation, Article 4, Sec. 9; Order of November 7, 1989, Ministry of Education and Science, Article 1]

Sweden

Prior to 1997, no legal age on smoking. Starting January 1997, no persons under age 18 is allowed to purchase or use tobacco products. [Swedish Tobacco Act, Sec.12]

Thailand

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]

Algeria

You must be 18 years at least to buy, and vending machines are banned in algeria [Law No 33-16 21 March 1993] for the prevention of smoking dangers.

Trinidad and Tobago

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]

Tunisia

Vending machines are banned. [Law No. 98-17 of 23 February 1998 on the prevention of the damage caused by tobacco consumption]

Turkey

The minimum age is 18. [The Law on the Prevention of Harm Induced by Tobacco Products, Law No. 4207, Article 3]

United Kingdom

It is illegal to sell tobacco to anyone under the age of 18 in England, Wales and Scotland (increased from 16 on 1 October 2007). Police constables and park keepers in uniform have a duty to confiscate tobacco or cigarettes from persons aged under 16 found smoking in a public place.
The minimum age in Northern Ireland was raised from 16 to 18 in 2008.

Vietnam

On 9 September 1999, a Ministry of Trade circular prohibited retailers from operating cigarette vending machines or selling tobacco to those under the age of 18 years after a period of 99 days had elapsed. However, although selling to under 18s became illegal as a result of this circular, possession remains legal for those over the age of 16 years.

Australia

Sales of tobacco to people under the age of 18 are illegal in all Australian states and territories. It is also illegal for a person over 18 to give a person under 18 cigarettes or tobacco products. It is not, however, illegal for a person under 18 to purchase cigarettes (only the shopowner is prosecuted), and there is no restriction on the possession and consumption of tobacco for those under 18. The smoking age varies among states and territories but 18 to purchase.
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.

Belarus

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.

Belgium

Cigarettes can not be sold to persons under 16. The law was strictly enforced, in both Flanders and Wallonia.

Canada

The federal to Young Persons Act (TSYPA), which came into force 1994-02-08, prohibits the sale of tobacco products in Canada to persons under the age of 18.[6] The federal legislation is meant to reinforce, but not limit or restrict, provincial sales-to-minors legislation regarding tobacco products. Indeed, certain provinces, namely Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Nova Scotia and British Columbia have increased the legal age for the purchase of tobacco products to 19. In some provinces (such as Ontario), it is not illegal for someone underage to have tobacco. But the person who sold or gave it to minors has broken the law.

Chile

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 children and persons under 16 years of age in public places.

Colombia

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.

Cook Islands

The legal smoking age is 21, and a signature is required per Tobacco Products Control Act (No.3) 1987 Sec.6.
Costa Rica

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.

Croatia

The legal smoking age is 18. Signage is required per the Law on the Restricted Use of Tobacco Products, Article 7. Vending machines selling tobacco are prohibited per The Law on the Restricted Use of Tobacco Products, Article 8.

Cuba

The Ministry of Commerce Resolution bans the sale of cigarettes to persons under the age of 16.

Czech Republic

The legal smoking age is 18 per Law 379/2005 of the Czech National Council of August 19, 2007 on the Protection Against Alcoholism and Drug Addiction, Sec.4(1)(e). Health warnings fall under the same legislation of the European Union. The warning message is introduced by “Ministerstvo zdravotnictví varuje” (The ministry of health warns).

Denmark

In Denmark, the age for buying tobacco is 18.[1] 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).

Dominican Republic

The sale and supply of alcoholic drinks and tobacco products to minors under age 18 is prohibited per Law Number 272.

Ecuador

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. However if you are British national, you can buy from the age of 16.

El Salvador

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)).

Estonia

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.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. Tobacco Vending Machines, sale of individual cigarettes and the distribution of Tobacco for free is illegal.

Finland

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.



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