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This Day in Georgia History

September 19, 1889

Act to Ban Tobacco Sales to Minors Signed

Prior to this day, there was no law in Georgia prohibiting the sale of cigarettes or tobacco products to children. That changed when Gov. John B. Gordon signed an act of the General Assembly prohibiting the sale or provision of cigarettes, tobacco, or cigarette paper to minors. As written, the bill included all forms of tobacco, which meant that it was now illegal for boys to use snuff and chewing tobacco - a common practice in rural areas. Opposition to this fact led the General Assembly to amend the law to only prohibit “cigarette tobacco” in a law signed by Gov. Gordon on Nov. 4, 1889. Interestingly, an amazing number of Southerners believed that smoking was a sin - but felt there was nothing wrong with using snuff or chewing tobacco. As a result, many men and women in the South - particularly in rural areas - used smokeless tobacco.