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Recent updates! 

On June 7, 2019, Gov Greg Abbott signed SB 21 into law, a statewide Tobacco 21 bill, making Texas the 15th state to increase the tobacco sales age to 21. It went into effect on September 1, 2019.

Currently, Texas has a near national average rate of high school smoking and adult smoking. Due to these rates and their high population, an estimated 498,000 children now under the age of 18 will eventually die prematurely due to smoking, with 12,300 children becoming daily smokers each year. The result is an annual health care cost of $8.85 billion that is directly connected to smoking. Despite this the state only spends 3.4% of the CDC recommended amount on tobacco prevention. State law includes language that expressly affirms that local governments are not preempted by state law if they choose to enact stricter tobacco control measures. Local support improves the chances of a statewide effort being passed. Get your community involved by starting a local T21 effort, petitioning your city council or county commissioners to sign resolutions, and testifying in support of your statewide effort!

Recent Updates

  • 9/2019 – Tobacco 21 goes into effect.

  • 6/2019 – Gov Abbott signs the statewide Tobacco 21 bill into law.

  • 3/2019 – Leon Valley passes a Tobacco 21 policy (effective August 15, 2018)! There are now 3 local T21 policies representing 5.3% of the state population.

  • 2/2019 – Kirby passes the second Tobacco 21 policy in Texas (effective February 29, 2019)!

  • 1/11/2018 – San Antonio becomes the 1st locality in Texas to pass a Tobacco 21 ordinance (effective 10/1/2018)

  • 3/13/2017 – HB 1908 is read and moved to Senate Public Health Committee

  • 2/15/2017 – HB 1908 is filed by Sen. John Zerwas (R)

Show All Updates

For More Information, Please Contact:

Local Partners:

  • Jennifer Cofer
  • Director, EndTobacco Program Cancer and Prevention & Control Platform
  • The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Jcofer@Mdanderson.Org
  • Texas Tobacco 21 Local Partner

Other Helpful Resources:

Tobacco Free Kids Texas

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Our vision: A future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco.

American Lung Association State Report Card

The ALA 'State of Tobacco Control' report tracks progress on key tobacco control policies at the state and federal levels, and assigns grades based on tobacco control laws and regulations in effect as of January 2, 2014.

SLATI State Information Texas

SLATI (State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues) is an extensively researched and invaluable source of information on tobacco control laws and policy, and is the only up-to-date and comprehensive summary of state tobacco control laws.

The Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation and the Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids support these four principles for Tobacco 21 ordinances:

  1. Include all tobacco and nicotine products, specifically e-cigarettes. The only exceptions would be FDA recognized nicotine replacement products (gum, patch, etc.) intended for cessation.
  2. Include significant enforcement provisions against illegal sales as research shows that consistent enforcement is of critical importance.
  3. Not include any pre-emption against local authority in more stringent regulation of tobacco or other nicotine product sales, secondhand smoke, or e-cigarette vapor.
  4. Ideally not include possession, usage, or purchase (PUP) penalties that result in criminal records, and instead place the onus on the purveyors of these addictive products.

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