Tobacco Retailer Compliance

As of October 1, 2019 – It is against the law to sell ANY tobacco product, including electronic smoking devices (e-cigarettes, vapes, pod-based devices such as JUUL and their e-liquids, and component parts and accessories) to anyone under the age of 21. 

To comply with federal and Maryland laws, retailers and clerks must:

  • Post an age of sale sign (compliant with the new law).
  • Use a driver’s license or government-issued ID to verify customer age.
  • Train all staff on tobacco sales procedures and policies​ to:
    • Ask for valid photo ID from everyone under 27. (An employer or school ID is not permitted).
    • Check to make sure everyone is at least 21.
    • Refuse to sell tobacco and e-cigarette products to everyone under 21.

Under Maryland law, a Tobacco Retailer is responsible for paying the civil penalty issued to store clerks when they have sold tobacco products or an Electronic Smoking Device (ESD) to individuals under 21 years old.

However, in Anne Arundel County, the individual store clerk that has sold tobacco products or an ESD to an individual under the age of 21 is responsible for paying the criminal penalty.

Maryland House Bill (HB) 169, Tobacco 21, specifies that if a person acting on behalf of a retailer violates specified prohibitions against the sale or distribution of tobacco products or ESDs, the retailer must pay the civil penalties, as followed:

  • $300 for first violation;
  • $1,000 for second violation if within two years of first violation; and
  • $3,000 for each subsequent violation within two years of the prior.

The Maryland Department of Health’s Complete Tobacco 21 Toolkit offers materials and tools to train retailers and clerks to remain compliant with youth tobacco sales laws. A few topics include:

Approximately 865,000 Marylanders use tobacco and electronic smoking devices, most of them starting before age 21. This new law aims to protect over a quarter of a million residents between ages 18 to 20 from developing a nicotine addiction.

To quit or help someone you know stop smoking or vaping, visit Quit Smoking for free smoking cessation tools and resources.

For information about vaping, visit Electronic Cigarettes.

The Department of Health partners with local law enforcement to educate tobacco retailers about the law and conduct compliance checks. Underage shoppers, working with the police, visit retailers and attempt to purchase. If retailers ask for ID and refuse the sale, they pass. If retailers make the sale to the underage customer, they fail and receive a Tobacco and ENDS Criminal Citation – Criminal Law 10-107.

The following retailer(s) failed a compliance check:

Name/AddressDate of Violation
Shell, 811 Bestgate Road, Annapolis1/30/23
C-Mart, 2002 Annapolis Mall Road, Suite 1024, Annapolis1/30/23
Exxon, 317 Buschs Frontage Road, Annapolis1/30/23
Vape N Tobacco, 1346 Cape Saint Claire Road, Annapolis1/30/23
Carroll Motor Fuels, 5423 Southern MD Boulevard, Lothian1/28/23
7-Eleven, 4450 Solomons Island Road, Harwood1/28/23
7-Eleven, 3226 Solomons Island Road, Edgewater1/28/23
AAA Tobacco+, 30 E Ordnance Road, Glen Burnie1/17/23
One Stop, 1201 Crain Highway, Glen Burnie1/17/23
7-Eleven, 7102 Ritchie Highway, Glen Burnie1/17/23
7-Eleven, 162 Ritchie Highway, Severna Park1/14/23
Exxon, 1318 Annapolis Road, Odenton1/13/23
Shell, 1144 Annapolis Road, Odenton1/13/23
Johns General Store, 812 Duvall Highway, Pasadena12/7/23