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". 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)
 DiFranza, Joseph, et. (2007). Inhaling From Just One Cigarette. University of Massachusetts
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%.
Figure: Sales Rate to Minors in Michigan and Ingham County (1993-2016)
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)
**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.