On Dec. 20, 2019, President Trump signed legislation amending the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to increase the federal minimum age from 18 to 21 for the sale of tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes, with no exceptions. This legislation became effective immediately.
The Texas Legislature increased the legal age from 18 to 21 for the sale, distribution, possession, purchase, consumption or receipt of cigarettes, e-cigarettes or tobacco products. This legislation was effective Sept. 1, 2019. See Senate Bill 21.
Although Texas law provides exceptions to the 21-year age requirement for individuals who are 18 and in the United States or state military forces and individuals who were born on or before Aug. 31, 2001, these exceptions are not found in the federal statute. Based on the new federal legislation selling to any person under 21 is a violation of federal law. Please monitor the FDA website for more information.
The Comptroller of Public Accounts will continue to enforce state law, including requiring the posting of warning notice signs with the statutory language and completion of employee notification forms.
The Comptroller will provide new or supplemental signage to retailers to address the federal age requirements. Check back with us here for updates on the new signage we are creating.
Effective Sept. 1, 2019, the 86th Legislature passed Senate Bill 21, which increased the legal age for a person from 18 to 21 for the sale, distribution, possession, purchase, consumption or receipt of cigarettes, e-cigarettes or tobacco products.
A "minor" is considered a person under 21 years of age per the Health and Safety Code.
The new law excludes the following persons from the new age requirement:
The new law also removes the provision allowing minors to possess tobacco products in the presence of a parent, a guardian, or a spouse.
Retailers must use Form 69-117, Cigarette, E-Cigarette and Tobacco Products Retail Employee Notification (PDF) to notify employees of the law and obtain employees' signatures as record of the notification. Vendors can be certified to train employers and employees engaged in the retail sales of cigarettes, e-cigarettes or tobacco products. Vendors must complete and submit Form AP-192, Application for Seller Training Certification (PDF), which is also available by calling or visiting one of the Comptroller's field offices. The Comptroller's office will review qualified applications and certify vendors interested in providing a seller training program.
If the Comptroller’s office finds after notice 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’s office may suspend or revoke the permit for that place of business or assess a fine up to $1,000 per violation.
Minors who violate the tobacco law can be fined up to $100 and be required to attend a tobacco awareness program or participate in tobacco-related community service. Parents of a minor convicted of a violation may be required to attend the tobacco awareness program with their child.