Tobacco and E-Smoking Devices

Background Information

Most smokers start before the age of 18. According to Dr. DiFranza of the University Of Massachusetts Medical School, "nicotine-induced alterations in the brain can trigger addiction with the first cigarette"[1]. It is therefore imperative to limit youth access to products that contain nicotine and educate retailers in measures to prevent the sale of these products to minors in our community.

The Ingham County Board of Commissioners recognized the importance of restricting the sale of tobacco products to minors and passed a regulation in 1993 that requires tobacco retailers to obtain a license. The regulations also provided a means for compliance checks and enforcement actions for non-compliant retailers. A new regulation was passed in 2015 requiring similar licensure for retailers of electronic smoking devices and components; this became effective January 1, 2016.

The goal of the Ingham County Health Department (ICHD) is to protect public health by reducing youth access through age restrictions, licensing tobacco and electronic smoking device retailers, maintaining 100% annual youth compliance check rate, providing training for clerks and store owners, and providing information to store owners and managers to ensure policies and practices are in place to prevent youth access to these products.

In addition, the ICHD is involved in several projects to reduce youth use and addiction. For more information about youth prevention organizations and ways to get involved in Ingham County please see the link below.

To report a suspicion of sale to a minor, please fill out the form below or call us at (517) 887-4312

[1] DiFranza, Joseph, et. (2007). Inhaling From Just One Cigarette. University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Youth Compliance Checks

In Michigan, State tobacco youth compliance checks (Synar) are conducted on a yearly basis in order to prevent tobacco sales to minors. These youth compliance checks are conducted during the same two week period in each County throughout Michigan to get the overall State tobacco sales to minor rate. Ingham County conducts its own youth compliance checks for all licensed tobacco and electronic smoking device retailers in Ingham County annually to further prevent sales to minors for tobacco and electronic smoking device products.

The Tobacco Licensing Regulation went into effect on January 1, 1993 and at that time Ingham County became one of three counties in Michigan to require retailers of tobacco products to be licensed. The rate of sale of tobacco products to minors dropped from 74% in 1992 to 47% in 1993. From 1994 to present, 80% of tobacco retailers have refused sales to a minors and implemented preventative measures to ensure youth do not have access to tobacco products.

The Electronic Smoking Device Licensing Regulation went into effect on January 1, 2016 and Ingham County became the first county in Michigan to implement age restricitions on electroinc smoking device products through the licensing of retailers. At that time, sales to minors were checked and the sales rate of electronic smoking device products was 3.54%.

Tobacco Sales to Minors - Michigan and Ingham County (1993 - 2016)
Figure: Sales Rate to Minors in Michigan and Ingham County (1993-2018)
January 1, 1993 Tobacco Regulation went into effect
1996 State Synar Regulation went into effect
January 1, 2016 Electronic Smoking Device Regulation went into effect *(data is now combined with Tobacco compliance checks)

Retailer Information

Clerk Education Classes are available for tobacco and electronic smoking device retailers and clerks free upon request. If none of the scheduled classes work for your schedule, additional classes can be schedule upon your convenience. For information please call (517) 887-4312.

**As of August 8, 2016 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration updated their regulations. To comply with federal rules and for more information please go to FDA Tobacco Products


To make a payment and submit an updated application please go to the Permits & Licensing page.