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Cigarette Vending Machine: Get Started Legally in the United States

Are you looking to start a cigarette vending machine business? Learn about the regulations, legalities, and where to buy the machines.


If you were around in the 80s or earlier, you probably remember how commonplace cigarette machines were. At the time, being a smoker was the norm - almost like eating a food. People could smoke anywhere, even in offices and public venues.

In the 2000s, people became more aware of the negative health impacts of tobacco, especially their addictiveness, and contribution to lung cancer. As a result, governments started restricting the sale and consumption of cigarettes and banned service from most of the private and public-held places. If you want to get into the business of cigarette vending machines, you must familiarize yourself with these restrictions.

Are Cigarette Vending Machines Legal Across the United States?

Nationally, the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products regulates the sale of anything tobacco related to customers. The FDA allows the sale of tobacco through vending equipment nationwide as long as the vending machines are in adult-only facilities.

An adult-only facility in this context means establishments such as private clubs, bars, and cigar lounges. While the FDA specifies the minimum age as 18, some states, such as New York, prohibit the offering of tobacco products to persons under 21 years of age. In such cases, when placing machine, you must follow the stricter regulation - even compared to vape vending.

Are Cigarette Vending Machines Legal in Texas?

Cigarette vending machines are legal in Texas as long as they are in places not open to persons under 18 years of age. They were banned in your every-day caffees and restaurants, but you can install a cigarette machine in cigar lounges, casinos, bars, and private clubs and actually make money.

Further, Texas requires all Tobacco retailers to post a warning sign provided by the state’s Comptroller’s office stating that the sellling or provision of tobacco products to a minor is prohibited by law. 

As long as you have an LLC registered, get the necessary permits and warning signs and install your cigarette vending machine in an adult-only establishment, you will be fine in Texas.

Are Cigarette Vending Machines Legal in New York?

New York State prohibits sales of tobacco, including electronic cigarettes, to persons under 21 years of age. Further, the state banned it from most places and explicitly states that cigarette machines can only be located in

  • Private clubs or casinos
  • Bars or bar areas of restaurants
  • Businesses whose primary service is selling of tobacco products and accessories
  • Places of employment where the great majority of the workforce is older than 21 and the general public cannot access the vending machine.

Notably, New York requires that you put the vending machine in plain view and under the direct supervision of the individual in charge of the location. You will also be required to display a sign next to a machine stating that the law prohibits the selling of tobacco to persons under 21 years of age.

Cigarette Prices by State in Dollars

In the United States, on average (all brands included), a pack of 20 cigarettes costs $6.71. The prices vary widely by state because of the different taxes levied by various states on tobacco products. States with the highest cost per pack include

  1. New York - $10.53
  2. District of Columbia - $10.42
  3. Connecticut - $10.04
  4. Rhode Island - $10.04
  5. Massachusetts - $9.75

States with the lowest cost per pack of pieces include

  1. Missouri - $5.21
  2. Georgia - $5.35
  3. North Carolina - $5.36
  4. North Dakota - $5.43
  5. Tennessee - $5.54

While these prices are high, they are not the highest in the world. The average American will pay about $8.99 for a pack of Marlboro - one of the brands with average pricing range. For comparison, below are some countries where the same pack of Marlboro (20 pieces) costs more money, according to Numbeo.

  1. Australia - $27.58
  2. New Zealand - $23.35
  3. Ireland - $16.01
  4. United Kingdom - $14.44
  5. Norway - $14.14
  6. Canada - $12.25
  7. Singapore - $10.84
  8. France - $10.67
  9. Iceland - $10.63
  10. Finland - $10.14
  11. Puerto Rico - $10
  12. Israel - $9.79
  13. Switzerland - $9.53
  14. Guernsey - $9.35
  15. Jamaica - $9.07

Entertainment joints tend to mark up drinks significantly. Since your vending machine will be in adults-only facilities, which tend to be entertainment joints, you too are free to experiment with pricing for customers. For the convenience the vending machine provides, patrons will be willing to purchase and pay significantly more for a pack knowing full well that they can get it for cheaper elsewhere.

Cigarette Vending Machine for Sale

You can order vending machines for sale, including different brands of vintage cigarette vending ones that are several decades old (don't count on tech support). The best places to order various brands of cigarette vending equipment are

  • Ebay. You can bid and purchase vintage cigarette machine brands still in good working condition.
  • A & M Vending Machine Sales. For as low as $169 monthly, you can secure a modern cigarette machine that can vend other products besides tobaccos.
  • Alibaba. If you want to cheaply source a cigarette machine brand from China, Alibaba is an excellent choice. The vending machines for sale are modern and reasonably priced. You can also source the same selection of vending machines from Made-in-China.

Final Thoughts

The law requires that you only put your cigarette machines in adults-only establishments. If you want a list of such establishments in your area - with their contact information - we can give it to you. All you have to do is provide us with your zip code.

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