This measure requires licensing to sell tobacco products at retail, require the purchaser be 21 year old, establishes penalties for selling to an individual young than 21, bans online sales of tobacco products, and amends the definition of tobacco products to include “nicotine vapor products” and “alternative nicotine vapor products”.
Specifically, this measure prohibits any person from selling any tobacco product at retail: (i) without first obtaining a permit from the Department of Taxation; and (ii) at a location within 1,000 feet of a youth-oriented facility, defined in the measure. The measure prohibits Internet sales of tobacco products, except to a permit-holding retailer, and prohibits the sale of tobacco products from vending machines. The measure imposes civil penalties of up to $1,500 for selling tobacco products without a permit and up to $2,000 for selling tobacco products to persons under age 21. Permits would be subject to annual renewal and subject to revocation for violations of federal, state, or local laws related to tobacco products. The measure imposes record keeping requirements and makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to engage in fraud or misrepresentation in connection with an application for a permit.The measure updates, for the purpose of the crime of selling or distributing tobacco products to a person younger than 21 years of age, the definition of “tobacco products” by including in such definition products currently defined as “nicotine vapor products” or “alternative nicotine vapor products.” The measure also removes provisions prohibiting the attempt to purchase, purchase, or possess tobacco products by persons younger than 21 years of age.The measure provides that the punishment of a retail establishment that sells, gives, or furnishes a tobacco product to a person younger than 21 years of age or to a person who does not demonstrate that such person is at least 21 years of age is a civil penalty of $500 for a first offense, a civil penalty of $1,000 for a second offense, and a civil penalty of $2,500 and a suspension or revocation of such establishment’s distributor’s license for a third or subsequent offense, regardless of the type of tobacco product. Under current law, such penalties apply only to the sale, distribution, or purchase of a bidi and do not require a suspension or revocation of the establishment’s distributor’s license, while violations involving all other products are punishable by a civil penalty of $100 for a first offense, a civil penalty of $200 for a second offense, and a civil penalty of $500 for a third or subsequent offense. The measure also removes the exception allowing the sale, giving, or furnishing of any tobacco product, nicotine vapor product, or alternative nicotine vapor product to active-duty military personnel who are 18 years of age or older. Finally, the measure requires agents of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage and Control Authority to conduct a minimum number of two compliance checks each year on any retailer selling tobacco products and to use a person younger than 21 years of age to conduct such checks.