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 (SB 55, 1997)

It is illegal in Texas for a person younger than 18 to possess, buy, consume or accept cigarettes, e-cigarettes or other tobacco products. It is also a crime to falsely represent oneself to be 18 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 $250. Exceptions apply if the minor possesses tobacco products in the presence of a parent, guardian or spouse or in connection with certain employment duties or 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. Failure to satisfy the conditions of the suspended sentence result in a driver's license suspension lasting up to 180 days.