80% of adult smokers who are nicotine dependent report that they started smoking before the age of 18 (SAMHSA)
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Montana Youth Access to Tobacco - Synar & State Inspections
Montana state law controls the access to tobacco by youth under the age of 18. The requirements of Montana's law are outlined below.
YOUTH ACCESS TO TOBACCO MONTANA CODE 16-11 PART 3:
- 16-11-305 MCA: (1) Sale or distribution of tobacco products to persons under 18 years of age is prohibited, whether over the counter, by vending machine, or otherwise.
- (2) If there is a reasonable doubt as to the individual's age, the seller shall require presentation of a driver's license or other generally accepted identification that includes a picture of the individual.
- 16-11-309 MCA. Inspection and notification of violation required. (1) The Department of Public Health and Human Services shall conduct inspections of persons selling or distributing tobacco products to determine compliance with 16-11-303, 16-11-304, 16-11-305(1), 16-11-306, and 16-11-307. Inspections are conducted by a trained adult accompanying the trained minor, age 15 to 17. The minor attempts to purchase a tobacco product. The adult witnesses and reports the inspection transaction.
- 16-11-310 MCA. Minors not liable for possession. An individual under 18 years of age assisting in the enforcement of this part is not liable under a civil or criminal law for the possession of a tobacco product possessed for the purposes of enforcing this part.
SALE AND DISPLAY REQUIREMENTS:
- Sale of tobacco through vending machines is restricted to businesses where alcoholic beverages are sold and consumed on the premises. The vending machine must be positioned within the direct line-of-sight supervision of the owner or an employee of the establishment. Tobacco vending machines must contain only tobacco products.
- Distribution in other than sealed packages is prohibited, and single cigarettes may not be sold. A retail seller of tobacco products shall conspicuously display, at each place on the premises at which tobacco products are displayed and sold, a sign that is to be provided without charge by the Montana Department of Revenue. This sign states: "Montana law prohibits the sale of tobacco products to persons under 18 years of age".
VIOLATION AND PENALTIES:
- 16-11-308. Civil penalties -- license suspension -- tobacco education fee.
- First through Fourth Violations: $25 education fee payable by the clerk
- Fifth Violation: $25 education fee payable by the clerk
- $500 education fee payable by the owner
- Sixth Violation: $25 education fee payable by the clerk
- Owner’s tobacco license is suspended for three months
- Seventh Violation: $25 education fee payable by the clerk
- Owner's tobacco license is suspended for one year
This applies to violations that occur within a three-year period. If, after two years from the first violation, there have been no further violations, then the next violation is considered a first violation.