The recently passed Senate Bill 97 (SB 97) will go into effect on October 1, 2015 in the state of Texas. The bill was first received by the Secretary of the Senate in November of 2014 and was signed by Governor Abbot on May 28, 2015. SB 97 has been amended greatly in thanks to efforts from the Texas SFATA chapter.
The most notable inclusions relate to e-cigarettes and minors (under 18 years old). This includes the prohibition of sales to minors and consequences if they’re found to possess, purchase or consume an e-cigarette. All e-liquids sold in Texas must have a child resistant cap unless sold as pre-filled cartridges. The rule also applies to eliquids from out of state sales shipped into Texas.
Retail locations and vending machines must post a conspicuous sign that includes warnings for minors and dangers of use during pregnancy. The sign must also state that minors purchasing an e-cigarette will result in a fine and Class C misdemeanor. If requested, the Texas comptroller will provide the sign without charge.
Consequences for minors found to violate these rules include enrolling in a vapor/tobacco awareness program and community service. Additionally, the commissioner will develop and implement a public awareness campaign to reduce use by minors.
Local law enforcement will also perform random and unannounced inspections using minors as decoys in retail shops.
Under SB 97 e-cigarette use is prohibited in primary or secondary schools, elevators, enclosed theatres or movie houses, library, museum, hospital, transit system bus, plane or public train.
Vape Requirements for Online or Telephone Sales for Retailers in Texas
- Age verification requirements from section against commercially available database or photocopy of government issued identification with photo and date of birth
- Written statement (Texas acknowledges a digital signature or a checkbox on checkout) certifying purchaser’s address and date of birth
- Payment by credit or debit card must match the purchaser’s name and address
Out of State Retailers Selling and Shipping to Texas
- Must verify that the prospective purchaser is at least 18 years of age through a commercially available database regularly used for the purpose of age and identity verification
- Must use a method of mailing or shipping that requires an adult signature
Shipping Requirements for All Retailers
- Include shipping document that states:
“e-cigarette sales to individuals younger than the age prescribed by Section 161.082 are illegal under state law; and e-cigarette sales are restricted to individuals who provide verifiable proof of age in accordance with Section 161.453.
LAW PROHIBITS SHIPPING TO INDIVIDUALS YOUNGER THAN 18 YEARS OF AGE AND REQUIRES PAYMENT OF ALL APPLICABLE TAXES.”
Although SB 97 imposes restrictions on online sales and businesses, it’s less restrictive than it was when it was first originally introduced. The image below from the Texas E-Cigarette & Vaping Association highlights the significant changes from its creation to the final bill.