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 SB 97, 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 employees' 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 complete and submit an application form, 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 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 $1,000 per violation (Texas Tax Code Sections 154.1142 and 155.0592).
Minors who violate the tobacco law can be fined up to $250 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.
For additional penalties, see Rule 3.1204.