Purchasing and consuming tobacco

Directive 2014/40/EU states that “Member States should be encouraged to prevent sales of such products to children and adolescents, by adopting appropriate measures that lay down and enforce age limits”.

In the majority of EU Member States, children are not allowed to purchase tobacco. Consuming tobacco, however, is rarely regulated and minimum age requirements are not set.

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Key aspects


  • In 26 Member States, the minimum age to purchase tobacco is 18 years.
  • Children from 16 years of age can purchase tobacco in Austria and Belgium.


  • In 21 Member States, there is no minimum age requirement for being permitted to consume tobacco. General rules concerning smoking in public spaces apply.
  • In seven Member States (Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Malta), the minimum age requirement to consume tobacco is the same age set for purchasing tobacco. In several countries, such as Austria and Germany, the minimum age requirement for consuming tobacco relates only to public spaces.