Beginning Jan. 1, 2024, a new Texas law will make it illegal to sell vaping products in packaging that includes cartoons or images of fruit or other food or drinks.
Specifically, the law prohibits vape packaging that:
·Depicts a cartoon-like fictional character that “mimics a character primarily aimed at entertaining minors”
·Imitates or mimics trademarks or trade dress of products that are or have been primarily marketed to minors
·Includes a symbol that is primarily used to market products to minors
·Includes an image of a celebrity
·Includes an image that resembles a food product, including candy or juice
The law, called the Protecting Children from Electronic Cigarette Advertising Act, was supposedly created to prevent “marketing to minors,” but will instantly make thousands of vape products illegal that are popular with adults. The law will prohibit packages with, for example, an apple or strawberry image meant to illustrate the product’s flavor.
The law is especially problematic because of the huge number of vapers in Texas, the nation’s second-most populous state. Consumers of both bottled e-liquid and disposable vapes could face shortages while manufacturers scramble to respond. No one knows yet if the state intends to energetically enforce the new law.
Violating the law can result in a Class B misdemeanor conviction, punishable by up to six months in jail, and a fine of up to $2,000, according to the state comptroller.
Retailers convicted of selling products in newly illegal packaging can also face civil penalties of up to $3,000, and suspension or revocation of their sales permits.
The Protecting Children from Electronic Cigarette Advertising Act (HB 4758), passed both houses of the Texas legislature with almost no opposition, and was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott on June 17.