Tobacco use in Virginia 2021
Cigarette use: Virginia
Cigarette smoking rates in Virginia
- In 2020, 13.6% of adults smoked. Nationally, the rate was 15.5%.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
Other tobacco product use: Virginia
Vaping rates in Virginia
- In 2018, 4.9% of adults in Virginia used e-cigarettes. 3
- In 2020, 3.4% of adults in Virginia 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
Economics of tobacco use and tobacco control
Virginia cigarette tax
- Virginia received $416.3 million (estimated) in revenue from tobacco settlement payments and taxes in fiscal year 2021.4
- Of this, the state allocated $8.3 million in state funds to tobacco prevention in fiscal year 2021, 9.1% 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 tobacco laws
Virginia smoking laws
- 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 $1.91. (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.11
- 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.11
Youth access laws
- Effective December 2019, the United States adopted a law raising the federal minimum age of sale of all tobacco products to 21. Some states have not yet raised their state minimum age of sale, however, the federal law takes precedence.
- Establishments are required to post signs stating that sales to underage consumers are prohibited.6
- Underage persons are prohibited from buying bidis and/or buying and possessing alternative nicotine products, including -e-cigarettes (unless the purchaser is active duty military who is at least age 18 years).6,11
- Mail order and online sales of e-cigarettes require age verification at the time of purchase and the signature of recipient who is over age 21 at the time of delivery (unless the purchaser is active duty military who is at least age 18 years). 11
- Vending machine sales of e-cigarettes is restricted to places that are not accessible to those who are underage. 11
Quitting statistics and benefits
Quitting vaping and smoking in Virginia
- The CDC estimates 49.4% of daily adult smokers in Virginia quit smoking for one or more days in 2019.3
- 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 45 cents per smoker, compared to the national average of $2.28.7
- Virginia does not have a private insurance mandate provision for cessation.7
Notes and references
Updated August 2021
*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, 2020.
2. CDC, Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance System, 2019.
3. CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation System, 2021.
4. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Broken Promises to Our Children: a State-by-State Look at the 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 22 Years Later FY2021, 2020.
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, 2021.
8. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. State Cigarette Excise Tax Rates & Rankings. https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/assets/factsheets/0097.pdf. Accessed.
9. Virginia Department of Taxation. Tobacco Products Tax. https://www.tax.virginia.gov/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. https://www.tax.virginia.gov/sites/default/files/inline-files/tb-20-11-tobacco-products-tax.pdf?utm_content=february_2019&utm_medium=email&utm_name=2019_secondq_interestrates&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=tax_preparer. Published December 1, 2020. Accessed.
11. Public Health Law Center. U.S. E-Cigarette Regulation: 50-State Review. http://www.publichealthlawcenter.org/resources/us-e-cigarette-regulations-50-state-review. Accessed.