List of Legal Smoking Age For countries around the world

Posted in Geography

The minimum legal age to purchase cigarettes or tobacco products varies from country to country.

Ages range from 15 to 21, but 18 tends to be the most common legal smoking age. 


Country / Region De jure Notes
Smoking Age Purchase Age
Bangladesh 15  
Hong Kong 18  
India 18  
Korea 19  
Japan 20  
Jordan 18  
Kuwait 21  
Macau 18  
Malaysia 18  
Mongolia 16  
Singapore 18  
Taiwan 18



Country / Region De jure Notes
Smoking Age Purchase Age
Belarus 18  
Bulgaria 18  
Cyprus 18
Denmark 18
Finland 18
France 16
Germany 18 (16 prior to 1 September 2007)
Isle of Man None 18
Netherlands None 16
Norway 18
Republic of Ireland 16 18  
Portugal 18  
Sweden 18  
United Kingdom 16 18 (Great Britain) (16 prior to 1 October 2007)
18 (Northern Ireland) (Raised from 16 on 1st September 2008)



It is illegal to sell tobacco to children under the age of 18 or to purchase cigarettes on behalf of someone under the age of 18. In most states it is not illegal for under 18s to smoke or possess tobacco however. Cigarette vending fare regulated on a state level. The age limit may be raised in the near future.

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 .


The federal Tobacco Sales 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. 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 , Nova Scotia , New Brunswick , Prince Edward Island , Ontario , and British Columbia have increased the legal age for the purchase of tobacco products to 19. However there is no legal age on when you can smoke, it is only the age you are able to sell to.


Prohibition of tobacco advertising in publications designated for minors under 18 years. It is prohibited to offer, distribute, or give free of charge tobacco products to children under 18 years of age (in public places).[Ley 19419 (Fecha de Publicacion 09.10.1995, Fecha de Promulgacion 22.09.1995) Ministerio de Salud]


Mandate that cigarettes or tobacco may be dispensed only to persons aged 15 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" per Resolution No. 4063 of 1982 regulating Decree No. 3430 of 26 November concerning restrictions on advertising.

Cook Islands

The legal smoking age is 15, 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 . Packs of cigarettes manufactured in Costa Rica must bear one of the following warnings: "Smoking during pregnancy is harmful to the fetus and may provoke premature birth" or "Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, and emphysema" per Decree 18,780-S,1989.


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.


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 zdravotnictv? varuje (Ministry of Health warns)


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 not exceeding (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.


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.

El Salvador

Cigarette sales to minors are banned per Decree No. 955 of 11 May 1988 promulgating the Health Code (Division 41-(Secs.196-190)).


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(1)(5).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.


Children under 16 cannot smoke in schools per The Evin Law (passed in November 1992, effective 1 January 1993). Smoking is prohibited in schools receiving children 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 . You may buy cigarettes at the age of 16 and up.


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


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 which create the impression that the consumption or the proper use of tobacco products is harmless to health, likely to have a favorable effect on the functioning of the body and physical performance, 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 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 years. The use of the terms "mild" and "light" are limited per Voluntary Restrictions on Advertising.


The sale of cigarettes or tobacco products to persons under 18 years of age is prohibited.


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 meters 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 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).


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, in buildings intended for social and leisure activities of children under 18, and health centers is prohibited per Law No.6 of 31 May 2002 on the prevention of the use of tobacco.


It is illegal to sell tobacco to anyone under the age of 18 in India . Kerala is an exeption however when most underage kids buy tobacco products, they usually buy them for their parents. The retailer trusts the kids while they purchase cigarettes because of the fact there are not as many underage smokers in India as there are in other countries.


The sale of tobacco to children under 18 is illegal. However the smoking age is 16.


Printed advertisements are prohibited from including names, appellations or photos of celebrities, persons under 40 years, persons in uniform and persons in sport dress or bathing suits per Tobacco Products for Smoking (Restriction on Advertising) Law, 5743-1983.


The legal smoking age in Italy is 16.


The legal smoking age in Japan is 20 


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


Sale of tobacco to those under 18 is illegal.


The sale of tobacco products to persons under the age of 18 is prohibited per On Tobacco Products Manufacture, Sales, Advertising And Smoking Restrictions (approval date 18 December 1996 , effective date 1 January 1997). Cigarette vending machines are also prohibited.


The legal smoking age is 18 per Low 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. (Law on Tobacco Control, Article 10)


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.


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


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


Prohibited but age is not indicated in Public Health (Restrictions on Tobacco Products) Regulations 1999, Sec. 2(e)(i). A person must be 18 years old to purchase cigarettes.


Sale to persons under 18 is prohibited


Sale to persons under 18 is prohibited


Not for sale for children under 16 [Prohibition of the Possession of Tobacco by Children Ordinance 1924, No.7/1924, Sec.2] #1


Not for sale for children under 16

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 (i.e. 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]


No sale of under 18's  Vending Machines:Ban. Sale of imitation tobacco products is prohibited.


Minimum age to purchase tobacco self-imposed by distributors and retailers (18 years).


Over the age of 18 for sale. [RPPL 4-25 Sec.4(1)]

  • Vending Machines:Banned[RPPL 4-25 Sec.4(3);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. [The Tobacco Products (Health Control) Act 1987] #2


Over 18's only Prohibition of cigarette and tobacco sales to persons under 18 years of age.["STOP for Health Act"(Stop Tobacco and Other Products for Health)] #2


Over 18 only. Minors under 18 can 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] #2


Minimum age for purchase and consumption of tobacco is 18. Ban on vending machine distribution.

Republic of Korea

Over 19 only. [Law No.4914 Sec.9] Vending Machines:Restricted[Law No.4914 Sec.9] #1

Republic of Macedonia

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


Over 18 only. Ban on sale of tobacco to minors(less than 18 years of age), 1999. #2


Over 16 only. [Law on Protection of Non-Smokers, Sec.6(3)]

  • Vending Machines:Ban[Law on Protection of Non-Smokers, Sec. 6(2)(c)]


Children aged 15 and over only [Restriction on the Use of Tobacco Products Act, Sec.14]

  • Vending Machines:Ban[Restriction on the Use of Tobacco Products Act, Sec.14]

Solomon Islands

Over 18 only. [Solomon Islands Tobacco Products Control Act, Sec.12(1)] Vending Machines:Ban[Solomon Islands Tobacco Products Control Act,Sec.13]


You must be over 18 to purchase and smoke tobacco. [Royal Decree 192/1988 of March 4 Regarding Limitations in the Sale and Use of Tobacco to Protect the Health of the Population, Article 5, Sec.1]

  • Place of Sale:banned in places where smoking is prohibited; banned in public schools; banned 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; Royal Decree 192/1988 of March

Sri Lanka

Over the age of 21 only. Selling cigarettes to minors under 21 is prohibited. [Children and Young Persons Ordinance, Section 76]

  • Ban on smoking by teachers in schools and sending children to purchase tobacco products. [Circular sent by the Director General of Health Services (no : E.C.F/3/92) on 17 May 1993]


Over the age of 18 only [The Swedish Tobacco Act, Sec.12]


Age 18 is the Minimum age for purchasing tobacco is 18. [Presidential Decree No.13 of September 1996]


Over the age of 18 only. Ban on sale of tobacco to minors(less than 18 years of age).


Over 18 only [Tobacco Products Control Act, BE 2535, Sec.4] Vending Machines:Ban[Tobacco Products Control Act, BE 2535, Sec.5] #1


Over 18 [Tobacco Control Act 2000, Sec.9(1)]

  • Vending Machines:restricted to places where persons under 18 years of age are prohibited[Tobacco Control Act 2000, Sec.10(1)] #1

Trinidad and Tobago

Over 16. Prohibits the sale of tobacco products to minors under 16. [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] #2


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


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


Minimum age to purchase cigars and other related tobacco is 18 years.

United Arab Emirates

Ban on cigarette sales to individuals under 18 years of age.

United Kingdom

It is illegal to sell tobacco to anyone under the age of 18 in England and Wales or in Scotland (increased from 16 on 1 October 2007 . Smokers under the age of 16 may have their tobacco confiscated by a police officer.

The minimum age in Northern Ireland has been raised from 16 to 18 years on the 1st of September 2008.

United States of America

Each state and many localities have different smoking laws. Most laws restrict possession, use and purchase to persons 18 and over. No retailer may sell cigarettes or smokeless tobacco to any person younger than 18 years of age. When a customer appears to be under a specific age, state and local laws require retailers to verify age by means of photographic identification. In addition, the tobacco purchase age has been raised to 19 in Alabama , Alaska , New Jersey , Utah , and Nassau , Suffolk , and Onondaga counties in New York .


Ban on cigarette sales to individuals under 18 years of age.

In March 2006, it became illegal in Uruguay to smoke in enclosed public spaces. Now bars, restaurants or offices where people are caught smoking face fines of more than $1,100 or a three-day closure. This makes Uruguay the first country in South America to ban smoking in enclosed public spaces.

Anti-smoking groups estimate that as many as a third of Uruguay's 3.4 million people smoke. President Tabar? V?zquez, a practicing oncologist, has cited reports suggesting about seven people die each day in Uruguay (an estimated 5,000 people a year) from smoking-related causes including lung cancer, emphysema and other illnesses.

To help promote the plan, president Vazquez launched a campaign called "A Million Thanks," which is a reference to the number of Uruguayan smokers. So far, the campaign seems to have won these people over, as an opinion poll conducted by the Ministry of Public Health states that close to 70% of the country's smokers support the legislation. The president was the impetus behind the government-decreed measure, which is among the world?s toughest and is similar to bans already in place in Ireland, Sweden, and Norway


Purchase age is 18. Television advertising and smoking on public transport is banned.  


Businesses will not be permitted to operate cigarette vending machines, or sell tobacco to children under 16. [Government Circular(Ministry of Trade) dated 9 September 1999 (taking effect 90 days later)]

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