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Indiana

Recent updates! – Tobacco 21 Progress

On July 1, 2020, Indiana will enact a statewide Tobacco 21 law, becoming the 23rd state to pass a statewide bill.

Governor Holcomb signed SB 1 on March 18, 2020 raising the tobacco sales age to 21, as well as doubling financial penalties on retailers, increasing the violation accrual period to 12 months (note: best practice is 36 months), and requires a 1,000-foot distance between new tobacco/vape shops and schools with existing businesses grandfathered.Ω

Indiana has a higher than the national average rate of high school smoking, and an above average rate of adult smoking as well. An estimated 151,000 children now under the age of 18 will eventually die prematurely due to smoking, with 3,700 children becoming daily smokers each year. The result is an annual health care cost of $2.93 billion that is directly caused by smoking, and another $3.17 billion in lost productivity. The state spends only 12.1% of the CDC recommended amount on tobacco prevention.

Unfortunately, due to preemption language in the state laws, local governments are prohibited from setting their own sales age for tobacco. In order to pursue Tobacco 21 locally in Indiana this language would need to be altered or removed. Statewide efforts can still benefit from local efforts; for example, a local T21 coalition, support of a statewide bill, and City Council or County Commissioners may sign resolutions in support of a statewide effort.

Recent Updates

  • 3/18/2020 – Governor Holcomb signed SB 1 to raise the tobacco sales age to 21.

  • 2/12/2017 – HB 1578 stripped of MLSA provision, kills Tobacco 21. Bill continues on as amended to repeal employment protections for individuals who smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products.

  • 1/23/2017 – HB 1578 filed by Rep. Cindy Kirchofer (R), referred to House Committee on Public Health. Includes provisions on raising the minimum legal sales age (MLSA) to 21 and repeals employment protections for individuals who smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products.

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Indiana In The News

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Other Helpful Resources:

Tobacco Free Kids Indiana

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Our vision: A future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco.

American Lung Association State Report Card

The ALA ‘State of Tobacco Control’ report tracks progress on key tobacco control policies at the state and federal levels, and assigns grades based on tobacco control laws and regulations in effect as of January 2, 2014.

American Lung Association State Report Card

The ALA ‘State of Tobacco Control’ report tracks progress on key tobacco control policies at the state and federal levels, and assigns grades based on tobacco control laws and regulations in effect as of January 2, 2014

SLATI State Information Indiana

SLATI (State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues) is an extensively researched and invaluable source of information on tobacco control laws and policy, and is the only up-to-date and comprehensive summary of state tobacco control laws.


The Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation and the Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids support these four principles for Tobacco 21 ordinances:

  1. Include all tobacco and nicotine products, specifically e-cigarettes. The only exceptions would be FDA recognized nicotine replacement products (gum, patch, etc.) intended for cessation.
  2. Include significant enforcement provisions against illegal sales as research shows that consistent enforcement is of critical importance.
  3. Not include any pre-emption against local authority in more stringent regulation of tobacco or other nicotine product sales, secondhand smoke, or e-cigarette vapor.
  4. Ideally not include possession, usage, or purchase (PUP) penalties that result in criminal records, and instead place the onus on the purveyors of these addictive products.

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