New law designed to protect youth
Austin—Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar is reminding retailers on Jan. 1 that it became a crime in Texas to market, advertise, sell or cause to be sold an e-cigarette product in certain containers that are designed to appeal to minors.
“It is illegal to sell e-cigarettes to minors, these products are dangerous and most contain nicotine, heavy metals and cancer-causing materials, yet these products are intentionally designed to attract minors,” Hegar said. “Texas has taken action to deal with this kind of deceptive marketing and I greatly appreciate the partnership with retailers across this state to help us protect one of our most vital resources: our children.”
House Bill 4758 says a person commits a Class B misdemeanor that can lead to civil and criminal penalties if they market, advertise, sell or cause to be sold an e-cigarette product and the product's container meets any of the following criteria:
depicts a cartoon-like fictional character that mimics a character primarily aimed at entertaining minors;
imitates or mimics trademarks or trade dress of products that are or have been primarily marketed to minors;
includes a symbol that is primarily used to market products to minors;
includes an image of a celebrity; or
includes an image that resembles a food product, including candy or juice.
A violation can result in a Class B misdemeanor conviction punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a fine up to $2,000, or both. E-cigarette retailers also can face civil penalties up to $3,000 and a permit suspension or revocation for repeat violations.
More than 2.1 million high school and middle school students who participated in the 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey said they use e-cigarette products, which were the most popular tobacco product among youth users for the 10th year in a row.
The Comptroller’s Tobacco Enforcement Program helps prevent children from obtaining cigarettes, e-cigarettes and other tobacco products. This vital public health mission requires constant vigilance and continuous effort on the part of parents, business owners, government officials and all concerned Texans. The Comptroller’s office and partnering agencies perform inspections for signage and employee compliance concerning the sale, possession and use of cigarettes, e-cigarettes and tobacco products.
Violations of tobacco control laws can be reported anonymously by calling the Texas E-Cigarette and Tobacco Hotline at 800-345-8647 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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