Back in the day, you could buy and consume tobacco products once you were 18 years old. Thanks to recent campaigns from Tobacco 21 and other anti-smoking organizations, some states now require you to be 21 to smoke. Furthermore, the laws on where you can smoke vary even more. So, if you’re planning on traveling between states at any point in your life, you need to know what the smoking laws are in each state.
Laws by State
Where: No public places, but restaurants and businesses can choose whether or not to allow it.
Where: Prohibited indoors
Age: 18, except in Cottonwood where it’s 21
Where: Not allowed in public places or workplaces
Unfortunately, Arizona has one of the highest tobacco taxes as a state. Therefore, you probably want to bring your own cigar from home. Perhaps a custom cigar with “Arizona” printed on the label? Arizona permits tobacco use for persons 18 years and older.
Age: 18, except for Helena-West Helena where it’s 21
Where: Prohibited indoors, workplaces, and vehicles occupied by a child of 14 or younger. you can smoke in 21+ bars/restaurants
Where: 70 cities have banned smoking everywhere but in private residences/cars. Otherwise, you cannot smoke indoors or in workplaces
Fines: $100 max first offense, $200 second, and $500 third
Where: Prohibited indoors, including entryways
Where: Prohibited in workplaces with at least 5 employees, and in government, medical, and food retail buildings
Fines: No set limit
Where: Prohibited indoors unless otherwise designated
Where: Prohibited in all public places and within 1000 feet of a school/childcare facility unless otherwise noted
Fines: No set amount
Where: Prohibited in enclosed public areas
Where: Prohibited in enclosed or semi-enclosed public spaces
Where: No smoking in public places including elevators and buses unless otherwise noted
Fines: No set limit
Age: 18 except in Chicago, Evanston, Highland Park, Oak Park, and Naperville where it is 21
Where: Banned in public and within 15 feet of a building’s entrance
Fines: $100 for the first offense, $250 for every repeated incident
Where: Banned indoors including within 8 feet of an entrance. This does not apply to bars and casinos
Where: Prohibited in public areas including outdoor arenas and theaters
In 1989, Kansas raised the buying age from 16 to 18, where it remained ever since. Kansas statutes prohibit smoking in any public place except for designated smoking areas. Anyone caught smoking in a non-designated area will receive a tobacco infraction with fines of up to $100.
The Kentucky State Committee just threw out a bill to raise the smoking age to 21, so 18 year olds can still buy tobacco products. Otherwise, there are very few smoking laws in Kentucky. Unlike most states, Kentucky does not have a Clean Air Act, so the state is a fairly safe space for smokers.
The law requires you to be 18 to buy tobacco products in Louisiana. All workplaces and restaurants in the state are smoke free. New Orleans does have a smoke-free ordinance which prohibits smoking indoors, in Lafayette Square, sports arenas, parks, and workplaces. You can smoke on Bourbon street, in any tobacco bar or retailer, or any other designated public smoking area.
Portland, Maine requires tobacco buyers to be 21, but anyone 18 and up can smoke tobacco because the rest of the state only requires you to be 18 to purchase. You cannot smoke in the following areas: schools, hospitals, indoor public spaces, outdoor eating areas, and vehicles used to transport children under 16. Violation of these laws can cost up to $100.
In order to smoke in Maryland, you must be 18 years or older. The state prohibits smoking indoors and in government owned means of mass transportation, such as buses or trains. Like most states, you can still smoke in a tobacco retailer as well as any building that manufactures or produces tobacco products. Luckily, if you happen to smoke where you’re not supposed to, the first violation results in a warning and the second a $100 fine.
While the state of Massachusetts only requires a person to be 18 in order to smoke, over 100 cities have raised the buying age to 21. Smoking is prohibited in every public indoor space including public transportation. It is permitted in private spaces and by performers onstage when part of the performance. Violation of these regulations results in a fine of up to $100.
Ann Arbor, Michigan raised the smoking age to 21 but the rest of the state still allows 18 year olds to buy. You also cannot smoke within 50 feet of the University of Michigan campus, which is mixed into the city. However, smoking is decriminalized in Ann Arbor, so whether you’re smoking tobacco or marijuana, getting caught will only mean a $25 fine. The rest of the state banned smoking in any indoor public space or public meeting area except for designated smoking areas. These fines cost no more than $100 for the first offense and $500 for the second.
You must be 18 or older to buy in Minnesota. The state restricts smoking in public places, workplaces, public transportation, and public meeting places. You can smoke outdoors, though. The law has not set specific fine amounts for infractions.
Mississippi restricts tobacco products to users of 18 years or older. The state low only prohibits smoking in government buildings and classrooms. However, local laws can restrict smoking further. There is also no set fine amount for violation of these laws.
18 year olds can buy tobacco in Missouri but you cannot smoke in public places or meeting areas. However, designated smoking areas can be set by anyone in control of a space such as a renter or landlord. Performers may also smoke indoors when part of a performance. The first infraction costs up to $200.
The law states only persons 18 and up can smoke cigarettes and cigars, but there is no law concerning minors and e-cigarettes. You may not smoke in any enclosed public space or public transportation. This rule does not apply to bars. Initial fines run between $25 and $100.
Anyone 18 years or older can buy tobacco in Nebraska. The laws restrict smoking in enclosed indoor areas and indoor public areas. This covers all bars except for cigar bars that do not sell food. Violations count as a Class C infraction, resulting in a maximum $100 fine.
Like most states, Nevada requires a person to be 18 in order to buy tobacco. Nevada bans smoking in most public places. The exceptions include bars, strip clubs, casinos, tobacco retailers, and brothels. Penalties in Nevada are stricter than most states. They include up to a $1000 fine and/or up to 6 months in prison. The offender is also liable for up to $100 per infraction in civil court.
In New Hampshire, a minor can possess and smoke tobacco if in a house or accompanied by a 21 year old guardian. Otherwise, the buying age is still 18. However, you may not smoke in public spaces or workplaces with over four employees. Cigar retailers and privately owned buildings populated by social club members permit smoking.
Unlike most states, you must be 19 years old to buy tobacco in the state of New Jersey. New Jersey also prohibits smoking in public places, schools, and workplaces. Public places excludes tobacco retailers and casinos. A first offense costs up to $250.
The state of New Mexico allows 18 year olds to buy tobacco products. It does not allow smoking indoors or in public transportation. However, Native American spaces such as reservations do not apply to New Mexico’s smoking laws. The restrictions also do not apply to casinos, private clubs, and designated outdoor smoking areas. Fines cannot exceed $100 for a first violation.
Like New Hampshire, a minor can smoke if accompanied by a legal guardian over 21 years old. The legal buying age is also 18 in New York. New York’s Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits smoking in any workplace, including restaurants and bars. Smoking is permitted in cigar bars from before December, 2002, volunteer only workplaces, and restaurants with designated smoking outdoor seating. Enforcement officers can give a penalty of $1000 for each violation.
North Carolina allows anyone 18 and over to buy tobacco. The state has a complete smoking ban on some state-run buildings such as the library and schools, but many have designated smoking areas in 20% of the building. Fines cannot exceed $25.
North Dakota permits anyone 18 and up to purchase tobacco. Smoking is prohibited in any workplace and public space and within 20 feet of building entrances. Yet, outdoor areas which are inaccessible to the public and designated smoking areas permit smoking. Infraction fines cannot go over $50.
Most of Ohio allows 18 year old to buy tobacco. However, Columbus, Cleveland, New Albany, Grandview Heights, Bexley, and Upper Arlington have raised the buying age to 21. Ohio has an indoor smoking ban with very few exceptions like some tobacco retailers and outdoor patios. A first violation results in a warning letter before fines.
Despite many bills to raise the buying age to 21, Oklahoma remains an 18 and up state. The law restricts a lighted tobacco product (e-cigarettes don’t apply) from any indoor workplace. This ban includes areas within 25 feet from the entrance as well as public transportation vehicles. The state does allow smoking in stand-alone bars, taverns, and cigar bars. Depending on where the infraction occurs, fines can cost $50 for the first infraction.
Oregon recently raised the buying age to 21, including any product associated with tobacco use such as pipes and rolling paper. Smoking any form of tobacco is prohibited in any public place that is not designated for smoking. Violations cost up to $50.
Pennsylvania still allows 18 year olds to smoke. Although, smoking in public places is not allowed, exceptions are tobacco manufacturers and retailers as well as events promoting tobacco. Aside from theaters and stadiums, outside areas are not included in the ban. Fines range from $250 to $1000.
Despite legislators pushing to raise the smoking age to 21, Rhode Island remains an 18 and up state. The state does not allow smoking in any public place, except for tobacco retailers and private rooms. Penalties cost up to $250 for the first violation.
South Carolina also permits 18 year olds to buy tobacco. Smoking is not permitted in any indoor public area. Designate smoking areas are allowed in any location except for schools, elevators, public transportation vehicles, and healthcare facilities. Fines cost between $10 and $25.
The buying age for South Dakota remains at 18 years old. You cannot smoke in any enclosed, indoor public place or workplaces. This includes restaurants, bars, and casinos. The only businesses excluded from the ban are tobacco retailers.
Like most states, 18 year olds can smoke in Tennessee. Tennessee primarily restricts smoking from enclosed public areas. The main exceptions are age-restricted areas, tobacco retailers, and tobacco manufacturers. There must be signs labeling where you cannot smoke. Fines cannot exceed $500.
The Texas smoking age is 18. Texas has one of the more relaxed laws, only banning smoking in schools, elevators, public transportation, movie theaters, libraries, museums, and hospitals. Fines cannot exceed $500.
The state allows 18 year olds to buy tobacco. Utah generally prohibits smoking in public places. You can smoke in private rooms or places primarily inaccessible to the public. Penalties cost up to $100 for the first violation.
Vermont recently rejected a bill to raise the smoking age from 18 to 21. The state bans smoking in any common area of an indoor public place. All indoor workplaces are smoke-free, regardless of whether or not they are common areas. Penalties can run up to $10,000 in civil court.
The state permits 18 year olds to smoke tobacco. The law only bans smoking in enclosed elevators, schools, health facilities, public restrooms, and indoor cashier lines. While a tobacco retailer permits smoking everywhere, anywhere else can have a designated smoking area. Fines can cost up to $25.
The smoking laws in Washington allow 18 year olds to buy tobacco. Although, the state has the strictest smoking ban in the country, prohibiting smoking in all indoor areas and vehicles for the public. This includes areas within 25 feet of a building’s entrance. There are no exceptions to these laws. The state also does not define a boundary for fines.
The law permits anyone 18 or older to buy tobacco in West Virginia. Furthermore, the state has some of the more liberal smoking laws in the country. No statewide smoking ban exists in West Virginia. Aside from schools and areas with explosives, you can smoke anywhere without a “No Smoking” sign. Fines run between $20 and $100.
Like most states, Wisconsin allows 18 year olds to smoke tobacco. All indoor workplaces in Wisconsin do not allow smoking, including restaurants and bars. Wisconsin is also the first state to make 100% of hotels and motels smoke free. The only exception to the smoking ban are tobacco retailers.
Wyoming only has one law regarding smoking: the buying age. In Wyoming, you must be 18 to buy and smoke tobacco products. Otherwise, there is no clean air act restricting smoking areas.
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