According to the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, nearly 9,000 children under the age of 18 become new daily smokers each year in Virginia. Lawmakers have taken another step to try to keep the commonwealth’s youth safe from the dangers associated with tobacco use and nicotine addiction.
Beginning July 1, retailers will be banned from selling electronic cigarettes and alternative nicotine products to minors. The legislation, which passed unanimously in both the Virginia House and Senate, also mandates that all retailers post a sign with the updated language stating that the sale of electronic cigarettes and alternative nicotine products to any person under 18 years of age is prohibited by law.
The commonwealth banned the sale of tobacco products to minors in 1986. Virginia joins at least 28 other states that have also prohibited the sale of electronic cigarettes or alternative tobacco products to minors.
As the commonwealth’s lead agency for enforcement of laws pertaining to tobacco products, the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) has posted the suggested verbiage for the required signage on its website. Retailers may download the document and reproduce it for their own use.
“Many of our off-premise licensed establishments also sell tobacco and nicotine products,” said Special Agent in Charge Joseph Cannon, ABC Bureau of Law Enforcement. “It’s important that these retailers become aware of the new law and know the exact signage requirement.”
Retailers will have until July 1 to post an updated sign and begin following the new law. Those that do not comply by July 1 are subject to civil penalties, including a fine of up to $2,500.
“Preventing the sale of both alcohol and tobacco products to underage youth is an issue we take very seriously,” said Robert Jackson, education and prevention coordinator. “We offer free training to help sellers and servers become more responsible and to better understand this new law, as well as other ABC rules and regulations.”
Virginia ABC has educational resources available free of charge. For more information about training or materials, contact the agency’s Education and Prevention Section at (804) 977-7440
To view the new law in its entirety, visit http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?141+ful+CHAP0394 .
The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is a major source of revenue for the commonwealth, contributing more than $1.7 billion to the general fund in the last five years. The agency currently operates 346 state stores. Its Bureau of Law Enforcement oversees more than 16,000 ABC licensed establishments while the Hearings and Appeals Division considers more than 700 cases each year. The agency also provides alcohol education and prevention programs for people of all ages. Now in its 80th year, ABC remains committed to progress and innovation in carrying out its control, service and revenue mission.
New Law Tightens Requirements for Retailers Selling Tobacco and Alternative Nicotine Products