Cigarettes and smokeless tobacco are subject to numerous mailability restrictions. These restrictions may require Postal Service™ employees to conduct age verification of the sender and/or recipient of the item, as indicated below.
DMM 601.11.5.3(a): For the exception for businesses mailing cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products to other businesses or government agencies, the recipient must be an adult of at least the minimum age for the legal sale or purchase of tobacco products at the place of delivery, which should be verified by a postal employee before releasing or delivering the item to the recipient.
DMM 601.11.6.1(b)/DMM 601.11.6.3(a): For cigarettes and smokeless tobacco mailed under the “certain individuals” exception, cigarettes or smokeless tobacco may be entered only by an adult of at least the minimum age for the legal sale or purchase of tobacco products at the place of entry. Additionally, the recipient receiving or signing for the article must be an adult of at least the minimum age for the legal sale or purchase of tobacco products at the place of delivery. This must be confirmed by postal employees in both transactions.
Effective May 18, 2014, the minimum age for purchasing cigarettes and other tobacco products in New York, NY, will be changed from age 18 to age 21. Several towns in Massachusetts (Canton, Dover, Sharon, and Arlington) have also raised the minimum age for purchase of tobacco to 21. In addition, several locations require purchasers of tobacco to be age 19 or older: Alaska, Alabama, New Jersey, Utah, and the following New York counties: Nassau, Onondaga, and Suffolk. The table below specifies the locations and the minimum age. If not specified, then the minimum age is presumed to be 18 years of age under federal law.
Postal Service employees should be aware of these requirements and ensure that the sender and/or recipient meet the required minimum age as specified in the DMM, and should be especially watchful when the item is being sent or received in an area where the minimum purchasing age is above age 18.