The Texas Retailers Association (TRA) has provided updated information to its members on recent developments concerning the new federal tobacco/vaping law, as well as bans on certain vaping products and e-cigarettes.
As a part of the Federal Budget act (Public Law 116-94) passed late in 2019, the age to sell tobacco/vaping products federally was raised to age 21. The state of Texas raised the age to 21 effective Sept. 1, 2019, as a result of the passage of SB21 last session. However, Texas law had two exceptions:
- Active members of the military with military ID could purchase if under 21.
- Those who were 18 on 9/1, could purchase between 18-21.
Both of these exceptions are not included in the new federal law. The FDA has not yet published regulations or the enforcement policy. TRA has been in close contact with state regulators and at this point, they are enforcing the Texas law until further notice from the FDA. Although TRA says it has not heard of any federal enforcement of the new federal law, it is suggesting that retailers of tobacco/vaping products post signage and notify employees who sell tobacco/vaping products to verify age 21. Local law enforcement and/or the media might check for compliance. TRA will continue to monitor the issue and provide information from the FDA as it is published.
The We Card coalition will send out a formal alert to retailers who have recently purchased We Card age verification products, but the links below are immediately available for the new T21 purchase age for tobacco:
- In both the Apple Store and Google Play Store, retailers can search and download the free “We Card Age Checker.”
- WeCardNow.com for available materials. Check back to this webpage, as items will be continuously updated.
- Check the WeCard.org main page for general information.
Flavored vape and e-cigarette ban
On Jan. 7, the FDA published new enforcement of bans on flavored vape products and e-cigarettes in the Federal Register. The effective date is 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, so this will go into effect on Feb. 6. As TRA understands it, all flavored vaping or e-cigarette products, other than tobacco or menthol flavors, will be banned as of that date.
FDA summary of the new law: Beginning 30 days from the publication of the notice of availability of this guidance in the Federal Register (Feb. 6), the FDA intends to prioritize enforcement against these illegally marketed ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems) products by focusing on the following groups of products that do not have premarket authorization:
- Any flavored, cartridge-based ENDS product (other than a tobacco- or menthol-flavored ENDS product);
- All other ENDS products for which the manufacturer has failed to take (or is failing to take) adequate measures to prevent minors’ access; and
- Any ENDS product that is targeted to minors or likely to promote use of ENDS by minors.
TRA says it will provide more details and information as it becomes available.