programsTobacco Enforcement

Tobacco Enforcement Program

Minors: Education and Prevention

The Comptroller’s office helps young people educate themselves about state laws regulating cigarettes, e-cigarettes and other tobacco products. The minor-in-possession statute is summarized below.

The Law

It is illegal in Texas for a person younger than 21 to possess, buy, consume or accept cigarettes, e-cigarettes or other tobacco products. It is also a crime to falsely represent oneself to be 21 years of age or older by displaying proof of age that is false, fraudulent or not actually proof of the individual's own age in order to obtain, purchase or receive cigarettes, e-cigarettes or tobacco products. (Health & Safety Code, Section 161.252)

The Penalties

Violators may be fined up to $100. Exceptions apply if the minor is in possession or receipt of cigarette, e-cigarette, or tobacco products – while in the presence of an employer – in the performance of required job duties as an employee or in the course of supervised law enforcement activities. Violators receive a suspended sentence but must attend a tobacco awareness program or perform community service if no such program is available locally. A court may also require the minor’s parent to attend the tobacco awareness program. Upon completion of the program or service, the fine may be reduced by up to 50 percent, the charge dismissed or the violation expunged from the minor's record depending on certain circumstances.