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San Antonio Considers Tobacco Age Restriction

On December 6, the San Antonio City Council will hear a proposal on raising the legal purchasing age for tobacco products from 18 to 21.
December 5, 2017

​SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The San Antonio City Council will meet at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, December 6, to consider a proposal on raising the legal age for sale/use/possession of tobacco from age 18 to 21.

According to the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, if the city were to increase the legal minimum sale age of tobacco to 21 years of age, it would be the first city in Texas to do so. If approved, the T21 ordinance will take effect six months after passage, and tobacco retailers will receive resources for complying with the new regulations. For example:

  • Retailers will receive signage to comply with the T21 ordinance to display in their establishments.
  • Retailers will receive T21 information to train their employees on the new minimum sale age, types of tobacco products listed in the ordinance, fines and a listing of local tobacco cessation programs.
  • Those selling tobacco products will be required to maintain the current standard of verifying the age of people wanting to purchase tobacco products who appear to be under the age of 30.

The Texas Food and Fuel Association (TFFA), Association of Convenience Store Retailers (ACSR) and the South Texas Merchants Association (STMA) are asking members to voice their opposition to the tobacco 21 (T21) ordinance. According to the TFFA:

  • Raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products would be inconsistent with the way the state and federal government define adulthood for other purposes, including voting, serving in the armed forces and paying taxes
  • Increasing the legal age of purchase on tobacco products will drive current, adult customers to other localities or states to acquire tobacco products. And while there, they will buy gas, food and many of the other items on which your store depends.
  • Increasing San Antonio’s legal age of purchase is unnecessary and is not the best approach to reducing underage use of tobacco products.

Texas retailers are planning to make sure their voices are heard in opposition to the T21 ordinance, by rallying at the City Hall Complex in San Antonio on December 6 at 1:00 pm prior to the Council’s session.