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Texas Passes SB 97 – New Regulations on E-Cigarettes

by on June 20, 2015
 

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.
    E-CIGARETTES: TEXAS
    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.

Texas SB 97

From Texas E-Cigarette & Vaping Association

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  • Ashlie Gantt
    October 2, 2015 at 10:50 am

    Can you please specify something? If someone in another state, say.. Oklahoma, orders from a vendor in Texas, do they need to also get a copy of their DL and written statement, as mentioned above? Or is it limited to Texas resident ordering from Texas vendor?

    Reply

    • ajay
      October 10, 2015 at 11:58 am

      Ashlie, as far as I can tell, the law states for items sold to people in Texas. It does not apply to any sales outside the state. While the law is better than it was, it is still a bad law that could be thrown out if challenged. No way they can legally require adult signatures and it is a burden to have to report sales to the state every month. No other retailer is required to do this for any other product. It puts an unfair and unnecessary burden on ecigarette retailer. Not a valid law at all as far as I can tell, but again, it would have to be challenged and that costs a lot of money. The supreme court of Texas would throw this law out very quickly if brought before them.

      Reply

      • Basher#52
        November 11, 2015 at 4:24 pm

        ajay since this bill is all wonky and its been modified significantly, could you clarify some points for me since you seem to have a better grasp-
        1) are free samples still allowed, that are not from a closed cartridge
        2) Are bottles of juice, as opposed to a closed cartridges similar to what manufacturer Blu sells, still allowed to be sold in texas?
        As an international online retailer, I think those are the two things that would most hinder my business.
        Any ideas on those would be greatly appreciated.

        Reply

  • Scott Faust
    November 23, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    Can no longer order may favorite e-juice (from Gremlin out of WA) as they have ceased taking orders shipping to Texas (and Arkansas). Needless to say I am not a happy vaper.

    Reply

  • My Texas Alibi
    December 18, 2015 at 10:19 am

    I’m 55 and have no children in my home but I have to sign for e-juice delivered to my home via mail. An inconvenience for adults that will NOT stop minors from getting it just like they do cigarettes. If they want to vape or smoke they will find a way. This is BS! Don’t you people have more important things to tend to?

    Reply

  • LemonB
    April 23, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    Not one minor will be stopped by this. Just a business killer. My government at work coming up with a cluster fucked useless law that irritates customers of legal age. So we pay more for shipping and signature required fees. We have to stop electing complete fucking idiots.

    Reply

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