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Fact Sheet Fact Sheet

Tobacco use in Virginia 2020

Cigarette use: Virginia

Cigarette smoking rates in Virginia

  • In 2018, 15% of adults smoked. Nationally, the rate was 16.1%.1
  • In 2019, 5.5% of high school students in Virginia smoked cigarettes on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rate was 6.0%.2
Cigarette use in Virginia graph

Other tobacco product use: Virginia

Vaping rates in Virginia

  • In 2018, 4.9% of adults in Virginia used e-cigarettes and 3.6% used smokeless tobacco.3
  • In 2019, 19.9% of high school students in Virginia used electronic vapor products on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rate was 32.7%.2
  • In 2019, 3.8% of high school students in Virginia used chewing tobacco, snuff or dip on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rate was 3.8%.2
  • In 2019, 4.7% of high school students in Virginia smoked cigars, cigarillos or little cigars on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rate was 5.7%.2
Other tobacco product use in Virginia graph

Economics of tobacco use and tobacco control

How much does Virginia get from tobacco taxes

  • Virginia received $299.4 million (estimated) in revenue from tobacco settlement payments and taxes in fiscal year 2020.4
  • Of this, the state allocated $9.7 million in state funds to tobacco prevention in fiscal year 2020, 10.6% of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual spending target.4
  • Smoking-caused health care costs: $3.11 billion per year.4
  • Smoking-caused losses in productivity: $3.06 billion per year.5
Virginia cigarette tax 2020

Virginia tobacco laws

Virginia cigarette tax

Tobacco taxes

  • Virginia is ranked 44th in the U.S. for its cigarette tax of 60 cents per pack (enacted July 2020), compared to the national average of $1.82. (The District of Columbia has the highest tax at $4.50 and Missouri has the lowest at 17 cents.)6-8
  • Moist snuff is taxed at 36 cents per ounce.9
  • The tax on loose leaf tobacco products varies depending on weight.9
  • Liquid nicotine is taxed 6.6 cents per milliliter.9
  • Roll-your-own tobacco is taxed at 10% of the manufacturers’ sales price.9
  • Heated tobacco products are taxed 2.25 cents per stick, beginning January 1, 2021.10
  • All other tobacco products are taxed at 20% of the manufacturers’ sales price.9

Clean indoor air ordinances

  • Smoking is prohibited in schools (public schools only) and childcare facilities (excludes home-based child care providers).6,7
  • Smoking restrictions are required in government workplaces, restaurants, bars, retail stores and recreational/cultural facilities.6,7
  • There are no smoking restrictions in private workplaces or casinos/gaming establishments.6,7
  • School boards are required to implement policies that prohibit e-cigarettes use on school buses, school property and at school-sponsored activities.9

Licensing laws

  • Wholesalers are required to obtain a license to sell tobacco products. Retailers are not required to obtain a license to sell tobacco products.6
  • A license is not required to sell e-cigarette products.9

Youth access laws

  • In December 2019, the United States adopted a law raising the federal minimum age of sale of all tobacco products to 21, effective immediately.
  • Establishments are required to post signs stating that sales to minors are prohibited.6
  • Minors are prohibited from buying bidis and/or alternative nicotine products, including -e-cigarettes.6

Quitting statistics and benefits

Quitting smoking and vaping in Virginia

  • The CDC estimates 48.6% of daily adult smokers in Virginia quit smoking for one or more days in 2018.3
  • In 2014, the Affordable Care Act required that Medicaid programs cover all tobacco cessation medications. However, there is not yet evidence that the Virginia Medicaid program has complied with this requirement regarding NRT nasal spray, NRT lozenge, NRT inhaler and Varenicline (Chantix).7±
  • Virginia’s state quit line invests 42 cents per smoker, compared to the national average of $2.14.7
  • Virginia does not have a private insurance mandate provision for cessation.7

Notes and references

Updated August 2020

*National and state-level prevalence numbers reflect the most recent data available. This may differ across state fact sheets.

**The seven recommended cessation medications are NRT gum, NRT patch, NRT nasal spray, NRT inhaler, NRT lozenge, Varenicline (Chantix) and Bupropion (Zyban).

Fiore MC, et al. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update. Clinical Practice Guideline. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service: May 2008.

1. CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2018.

2. CDC, Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance System, 2019.

3. CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation System, 2020.

4. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Broken Promises to Our Children: a State-by-State Look at the 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 21 Years Later FY2020, 2019.

5. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Toll of Tobacco in the United States.

6. American Lung Association, State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues (SLATI).

7. American Lung Association, State of Tobacco Control, 2020.

8. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. State Cigarette Excise Tax Rates & Rankings. Accessed.

9. Virginia Department of Taxation. Tobacco Products Tax. Published 2020. Accessed.

10. Virginia Department of Taxation. Tax Bulletin 20-11. Important Information Regarding Virginia's Tobacco Products Tax. Heated Tobacco Products Subject to Tax and Economic Nexus for Tobacco Products Distributors. Published December 1, 2020. Accessed.

11. Public Health Law Center. U.S. E-Cigarette Regulation: 50-State Review. Accessed.