On December 1, Senator Jerry Hill of the California legislature introduced a bill that would extend the Stop Tobacco Access to Kids Enforcement Act (“STAKE Act”) to ban sales of electronic cigarettes to minors. 

Under the existing STAKE Act, distributors and retailers of tobacco products must post a notice at each point of purchase stating that the sale of tobacco products to minors is illegal.  If found in violation of this Act, the party could face a fine of up to $500 or imprisonment not to exceed 30 days in jail, as well as the potential for various civil penalties.  For failure to abide by the STAKE Act, possible additional penalties could be assessed under the Cigarette and Tobacco Products Licensing Act, which requires the State Board of Equalization to administer the licensure program for tobacco retailers and distributors.  The party in violation could face an additional $5,000 fine as well as up to a year of jail time, and the possibility for added civil penalties.

The recently-introduced Senate Bill 24 (“S.24”) would seek to extend the STAKE Act and impose the same penalties for unlawful sales of electronic cigarettes.  Moreover, S.24 would require the distributor or retailer to obtain a license in order to legally sell the product and would give the Board of Equalization the authority to impose civil and criminal penalties for noncompliance.  Additionally, this bill calls for child-proof packaging of cartridges and solutions to be used with electronic cigarettes.  If S.24 is passed by California legislature, the proposed changes and additional requirements would take effect in mid-2016.

The full text of the proposed amendment can be found here.  We will continue to monitor the bill’s progress, and post any updates to the blog.

For questions and/or comments, please contact Bryan Haynes, at 804.697.1420 or by email.