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Underage Smoking Provisions – Regulatory Information

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:

  • individuals who are at least 18 years of age and in the United States military forces or state military forces and show at the time of purchase a valid military identification card; or
  • individuals born on or before Aug. 31, 2001. For example, a person who was 18 years of age or older before Sept. 1, 2019, can purchase cigarettes, e-cigarettes or tobacco products.

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.

Penalty for Violations

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.

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