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Selling Tobacco to a Minor

Posted on September 19, 2019 in News

New Policy announced Combating Epidemic of Youth E-Cigarette Use

How will previous laws related to selling tobacco to a minor, be affected by a new policy recently announced? On September 11, 2019, the Trump administration announced a new policy to be developed by the FDA that would clear stores across the country from selling non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes.  Allegedly in response to an epidemic of youth e-cigarette usage, the new regulations appear likely to lead to enforcement of new crimes and the promulgation of new regulations by the Federal Government.  It is unclear how this new approach will influence the Arizona legislature to change its own laws prohibiting the sale of tobacco to minors, as Arizona’s laws were already broad and draconian.

What is the Arizona Law on this issue?

Prior to this, Arizona has criminalized selling, giving, or providing in any way any tobacco product to a minor.  Under Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-3622, it is a petty offense, punishable by a fine, to provide cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snus, or a “vapor product,” which includes e-cigarettes, to a minor.  Arizona law does not distinguish between flavored tobacco and non-flavored tobacco, and so long as the product to be used was tobacco-derived and contained nicotine you can be held responsible.  In addition, the statute also criminalizes the sell or provision of smoking paraphernalia, like hookahs and pipes, to minors.  The statute is so broad, in fact, that often not only are shopkeepers charged, but so are the stores for which the shopkeeper or clerk works for.  Violations of this law can lead to fines and licensing difficulties in the future for establishments that sell tobacco.

This new move by the federal government, all in the name of stopping some epidemic, already had a solution in our state.

What to know

If you find yourself or your business charged with selling tobacco to a minor, including e-cigarettes, you need to find an attorney to represent you as quickly as possible.  A conviction can lead to fines and future licensing difficulties for your business.  The attorneys at AZ Defenders have experience in defending individuals and companies from the very real consequences that come with selling tobacco to a minor, or having an employee sell tobacco to a minor.  Call or contact us online for a free consultation today so we can figure out how to best help you.

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