Underage Smoking Provisions - Regulatory Information
In 1997, the Texas Legislature enacted a bill (SB 55) that made it illegal to sell tobacco products to minors - those younger than 18 years of age. Anyone 27 years old or younger must present a valid identification before buying tobacco products. Warning signs must be posted at each retailer's location.
In 2015, the 84th Legislature passed SB97, updating the Health and Safety Code to include the regulation of e-cigarettes to prevent minors from purchasing e-cigarette products.
Retailers must notify employees of the law, and obtain their signatures as record of the notification.
Vendors may be certified to train employers and employees engaged in the retail sales of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or tobacco products. (See Rule 3.1203 for more details.) Vendors must make application to the comptroller's office on a prescribed application form. The comptroller's office will review qualified applications and certify vendors interested in providing a seller training program.
Penalty for Violations
If the Comptroller finds, after notice and hearing, that a retailer has sold cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars and/or tobacco products to a minor, at a place of business for which a permit is issued, the Comptroller may suspend or revoke the permit for that place of business or assess an administrative fine in an amount up to $1000 per violation. (Tax Code, Sec. 154.1142 and Sec. 155.0592)
Minors who violate the tobacco law can be fined up to $250 and required to attend a tobacco awareness program or participate in a tobacco-related community service. Parents of a minor convicted of a violation may be required to attend the tobacco awareness program with their child.
For additional penalties, see Rule 3.1204.
Other Helpful Numbers
Comptroller's Office: Toll-Free Number For Seller Training Certification: 1-800-531-5441, ext. 6-5946
Comptroller's Office: Toll-Free Number For Illegal Sales to Minors: 1-800-388-2883
Comptroller's local numbers in Austin:
Illegal Sales to Minors 305-9783
Texas Tobacco Hotline: 1-800-345-8647 (to report violations or to request compliance information)