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    Tobacco Prevention and Control Program
    DSHS Mental Health and Substance Abuse Division Mail Code 2081
    909 W. 45th St., Bldg. 552
    Austin, TX 78751

    Phone: (512) 776-3307
    Fax:


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Texas Tobacco Laws

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under18

In 1997, the Texas Legislature enacted a bill (SB 55 - see below) 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.

For more information, visit the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts web site.

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Worth It? is the public education campaign aimed at educating teens about the Texas Tobacco Law (see Senate Bill 55 below) and its consequences. The Worth It? web site includes a statewide listing of instructors for tobacco awareness classes.
Tobacco laws in Texas

State Laws Affecting Tobacco Use in Texas

Links to Texas Statutes:

Education Code, Chapter 38, Section 38.006: Tobacco on School Grounds/School Activities
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Health & Safety Code, Chapter 161, Sections 161.081-161.0901: Sales & Distribution to Minors
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Health & Safety Code, Chapter 161, Sections 161.121-161.125: Advertising
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Health & Safety Code, Chapter 161, Sections 161.251-161.257: Possession by a Minor/Awareness Class
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Health & Safety Code, Chapter 161, Sections 161.301-161.302: Youth Awareness Campaign
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Health & Safety Code, Chapter 161, Sections 161.351-161.355: Ingredients Disclosure
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Health & Safety Code, Chapter 796, Sections 796.001-796.017: Cigarette Fire Safety Standards
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Labor Code, Chapter 411, Sections 411.101-411.411.110: Occupational Health & Safety
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Penal Code, Chapter 48, Sections 48.01-48.015: Smoking in Public Places
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 Tax Code, Chapter 154, Sections 154.001-154.603: Cigarette Tax
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Tax Code, Chapter 154, Sections 155.001-155.241: Cigar & Tobacco Product Tax
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Links to Texas Administrative Code:

Title 40 Social Services and Assistance
Part 19 Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
Chapter 746 Minimum Standards for Child-Care Centers

Title 40 Social Services and Assistance
Part 19 Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
Chapter 747 Minimum Standards for Child-Care Homes

Title 40 Social Services and Assistance
Part 19 Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
Chapter 749 Child Placing Agencies


Senate Bill 55
(Youth Access to Tobacco Products)

Senate Bill 55 - 1997 Texas Legislative Session
(Link to Texas Legislature Online)

Senate Bill 55 - Summary
Youth Access to Tobacco Products

The tobacco law, formerly Senate Bill 55, is a comprehensive approach to reducing children's access to tobacco products.  Specifically, the law:

  1. Continues the existing penalty for the store clerk that sells tobacco to a minor, which is a Class C misdemeanor.
  2. Requires tobacco retailers to verify the age of purchasers appearing to be younger than 27 years of age through the use of photo identification.
  3. Existing signage is amended to include that it is BOTH illegal to sell to minors and illegal for minors to buy (Comptroller responsibility). The sign will say:   PURCHASING OR ATTEMPTING TO PURCHASE TOBACCO PRODUCTS BY A MINOR UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE IS PROHIBITED BY LAW.  SALE OR PROVISION OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS TO A MINOR UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE IS PROHIBITED BY LAW. UPON CONVICTION, A CLASS C MISDEMEANOR, INCLUDING A FINE OF UP TO $500, MAY BE IMPOSED. VIOLATIONS MAY BE REPORTED TO THE TEXAS COMPTROLLER'S OFFICE BY CALLING 1-800-345-8647.
  4. Vending machine and self service sales are restricted except in places not open to those under 18 years of age or in places used as cigar humidors.
  5. Giveaways of free samples and coupons to anyone under 18 are prohibited.
  6. Sales of cigarettes of less than 20 per pack (Kiddie Packs) are prohibited.
  7. A retail permit fee of $125 for 1998-99 and $180 for 2000-01 is assessed (a permit is required now, but fee is attached). The fee funds administration of the bill and enforcement and awareness programs.
  8. Retailers are subject to the following penalties upon failure to adequately supervise or train employee. All offenses must be within a 12-month period.
    • First offense: up to $500 fine
    • Second offense: up to $750 fine
    • Third offense: up to $1,000 or 3-day permit suspension
    • Four or more offenses: permit revocation (can apply after six months)
  9. Retailers must inform employees that tobacco sales to minors are illegal.
  10. The retailer is protected from permit revocation if his employees attend a comptroller approved training program. There is no protection from permit revocation if a retailer has eight violations within a two-year period.
  11. Minors are penalized for purchasing or possessing tobacco products and must attend a tobacco awareness program or do community service. Failure to attend the tobacco awareness program or do the community service may result in a suspension of the minor's drivers license. A violation is punishable by a fine not to exceed $250. Upon producing evidence of attending a tobacco awareness program or doing the community service, the charge may be dismissed except in the case of repeated offenses.
  12. Outdoor advertising is prohibited within 1,000 feet of a church or school.
Last updated April 11, 2011