Texas Officials Warn Retailers of Criminal Penalties for Selling E-Cigarettes to Minors: A Reminder of Legal Consequences

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Texas retailers have been warned that marketing and selling e-cigarette products designed to appeal to teenagers is now a crime.

In a recent report by KAMR/KCIT, officials from the Texas Comptroller’s Office have been advised by Glenn Hegar to warn retailers that starting from January 1, 2024, marketing, advertising, and selling e-cigarette products in containers designed to attract young people will be considered a criminal offense.

Hegel stated that selling e-cigarettes to minors is illegal as these products contain nicotine, heavy metals, and carcinogenic substances, posing a threat to their health. However, the design of these products deliberately targets them. Texas has taken action to address this deceptive marketing and I greatly appreciate the cooperation of retailers in this state in helping us protect our most valuable resource: our children.

According to a press release issued by the Texas Department of Revenue, failure of retailers to comply with House Bill 4758 will be classified as a Class B misdemeanor, which could result in civil and criminal penalties.

Officials provided comprehensive information about the standards for both the product and its packaging. Key aspects discussed include:

Designed as cartoon-like fictional characters, they imitate characters primarily used for entertaining teenagers.

Imitation or emulation is primarily used in the branding or commercial aesthetics of products marketed to teenagers.

Includes symbols primarily used to market products to young people.

Includes images of celebrities;

Or may include images of food items such as candies or fruit juices.

If found in violation of this law, individuals may be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2000, or both. Additionally, repeat offenders in retail may face civil penalties of up to $3000, along with the suspension or revocation of their license.

The tax department’s tobacco enforcement plan aims to prevent children from accessing cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and other tobacco products.

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