Since Aug. 28, 2001, the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control has been the state agency with responsibility for enforcement of youth access to tobacco laws. In 2014, that responsibility was expanded to include state enforcement of youth access to vaping products, or e-cigarettes. The division enforces the tobacco laws under Sections 407.925 through 407.934, RSMo.

Enforcement of Youth Access to Tobacco and Vaping Products

Missouri state law strictly controls how youth access to tobacco and vaping products laws are enforced. The enforcement mechanism is called a compliance check. These utilize a person who is 17 years old, with parental consent, working with law enforcement to attempt to purchase tobacco or vaping products.

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In November 2019, Missouri launched the Clear the Air campaign to warn the state’s youth about the health dangers of vaping, keep them from vaping and promote vaping cessation programs.

Each year, ATC conducts approximately 6,000 compliance checks and other inspections across the state, which help ensure retailers are displaying required product warning messages in their stores. ATC’s efforts are supported in part by a contract between the state and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In Missouri and across the country, an increasing number of local jurisdictions are raising the age to legally purchase tobacco and vaping products. ATC can only enforce state law regulating the sale of tobacco and vaping products, and therefore cannot conduct compliance checks involving anyone 18 years or older.

When utilizing minors in special enforcement operations, law enforcement agencies should refer to 11 CSR 70-3 and complete the Tobacco Compliance Buy Form.

Review tobacco and vaping compliance check inspections using the U.S. Food & Drug Administration database here.

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Clear the Air Image Missouri’s Clear the Air campaign warns Missouri youth about the health dangers of vaping and promotes vaping cessation programs.