Furnishing Tobacco to a Minor

California Penal Code Section 308

In California, it is illegal to knowingly furnish any tobacco product to a person not 18 years of age yet. This includes vape cartridges containing nicotine as well.  It is a misdemeanor offense.

Defenses:

      • The product had no nicotine or tobacco
      • The product was not furnished
      • The person receiving the product was 18 or older
      • The person furnishing the product didn’t know it was a tobacco product or one containing nicotine
      • The person receiving it had a valid (or seemingly valid) ID showing age to be at least 18

Penalties:

    • 308(a)(1)
        • FIRST OFFENSE: $200
        • SECOND OFFENSE: $500
        • THIRD OFFENSE: $1,000
    • 308(B)
        • $75 OR 30 DAYS COUNTY JAIL
    • 308(C)
        • 1ST OFFENSE: $50
        • 2ND OFFENSE: $100
        • 3RD OFFENSE: $250
        • 4TH OFFENSE: $500 OR 30 DAYS COUNTY JAIL
    • POSSIBLE DISQUALIFICATION FROM PUBLIC ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
    • POSSIBLE IMMIGRATION CONSEQUENCES

Penal Code 308 is as follows:

308.(a) Every person, firm, or corporation which knowingly or under circumstances in which it has knowl- edge, or should otherwise have grounds for knowledge, sells, gives, or in any way furnishes to another person who is under the age of 18 years any tobacco, cigarette, or cigarette papers, or any other preparation of tobacco- co, or any other instrument or paraphernalia that is designed for the smoking or ingestion of tobacco, products prepared from tobacco, or any controlled substance, is subject to either a criminal action for a misdemeanor or to a civil action brought by a city attorney, a county counsel, or a district attorney, punishable by a fine of two hundred dollars ($200) for the first offense, five hundred dollars ($500) for the second offense, and one thousand dollars ($1,000) for the third offense.

Notwithstanding Section 1464 or any other provision of law, 25 percent of each civil and criminal penalty collected pursuant to this subdivision shall be paid to the office of the city attorney, county counsel, or district attorney, whoever is responsible for bringing the successful action, and 25 percent of each civil and criminal penalty collected pursuant to this subdivision shall be paid to the city or county for the administration and cost of the community service work component provided in subdivision (b).

Proof that a defendant, or his or her employee or agent, demanded, was shown, and reasonably relied upon evidence of majority shall be defense to any action brought pursuant to this subdivision. Evidence of majority of a person is a facsimile of or a reasonable likeness of a document issued by a federal, state, county, or municipal government, or subdivision or agency thereof, including, but not limited to, a motor vehicle operator’s license, a registration certificate issued under the Federal Selective Service Act, or an identification card issued to a member of the Armed Forces.

For purposes of this section, the person liable for selling or furnishing tobacco products to minors by a tobacco vending machine shall be the person authorizing the installation or placement of the tobacco vending machine upon premises he or she manages or otherwise controls and under circumstances in which he or she has knowledge, or should otherwise have grounds for knowledge, that the tobacco vending machine will be utilized by minors.

(b) Every person under the age of 18 years who purchases, receives, or possesses any tobacco, cigarette, or cigarette papers, or any other preparation of tobacco, or any other instrument or paraphernalia that is designed for the smoking of tobacco, products prepared from tobacco, or any controlled substance shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of seventy-five dollars ($75) or 30 hours of community service work.

(c) Every person, firm, or corporation which sells, or deals in tobacco or any preparation thereof, shall post conspicuously and keep so posted in his, her, or their place of business at each point of purchase the notice required pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 22952 of the Business and Professions Code, and any person failing to do so shall upon conviction be punished by a fine of ten dollars ($10) for the first offense and fifty dollars ($50) for each succeeding violation of this provision, or by imprisonment for not more than 30 days.

(d) For purposes of determining the liability of persons, firms, or corporations controlling franchises or business operations in multiple locations for the second and subsequent violations of this section, each individual franchise or business location shall be deemed a separate entity.

(e) It is the Legislature’s intent to regulate the subject matter of this section. As a result, no city, county, or city and county shall adopt any ordinance or regulation inconsistent with this section.

(f ) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the Director of Corrections may sell or supply tobacco and tobacco products, including cigarettes and cigarette papers, to any person confined in any institution or facility under his or her jurisdiction who has attained the age of 16 years, if the parent or guardian of the per- son consents thereto, and may permit smoking by the person in any institution or facility. No officer or employ- ee of the Department of Corrections shall be considered to have violated this section by any act authorized by this subdivision.

PC 308(c) prohibits local governments from increasing the penalties for selling tobacco to minors; therefore, local governments cannot pass a local law that is stronger than PC 308(a).

The information within this website is NOT LEGAL ADVICE but merely meant to be general information. Nothing in this website, nor filling out any forms on this website, shall constitute an attorney-client relationship.

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