Rules & Laws
The Excise Police would like you to know...
- The law defines Tobacco as:
- Chewing tobacco
- Cigars, cigarettes, and snuff that contain tobacco
- Pipe tobacco. (IC 35-46-1-1.7)
- If a business' primary activity is the sale of tobacco, tobacco products, and tobacco accessories, then, that business shall be defined as a Tobacco Business. (IC 35-46-1-1)
- It is unlawful for a person to knowingly sell or distribute tobacco or tobacco products, (as defined above in #1) to a person who is less than twenty-one (21) years old. A person who knowingly does this commits a Class B infraction. Additionally, the buyer must pay the seller for the tobacco product for the sale to take place, and, it is not a defense for the person to whom the tobacco was sold that they did not smoke, chew, or otherwise consume the tobacco. (IC 35-46-1-10)
- Anyone under the age of twenty-one (21) may not:
- Possess tobacco products. (IC 35-46-1-10.5)
- A retail establishment commits a Class B infraction if they sell or distribute tobacco to anyone under the age of twenty-one (21). This is in addition to the employee who actually conducts the sale. The purchaser must pay the retail establishment for the sale to take place under this section. (IC 35-46-1-10.2)
- No tobacco business may operate within one thousand (1000) feet of a public or private elementary or secondary school. This distance is to be determined by measuring the nearest point of the premises occupied by the tobacco business and the nearest point of the building used by the school for instructional purposes. (IC 35-46-1-11.2)
- It is unlawful for anyone less than twenty-one (21) years of age to enter a tobacco business, or for that tobacco business to allow anyone under twenty-one (21) to enter their retail establishment. There must be a sign in boldface type conspicuously posted on all entrances, that states: "NOTICE: It is unlawful for a person less than 21 years old to enter this store." A person who violates this section commits a Class C infraction. (IC 35-46-1-11.7)
- Tobacco vending machines are not allowed to be placed in, or directly adjacent to, an entranceway or an exit. They are not allowed in a restroom, hallway, or any common area that anyone less than twenty-one (21) years of age has access to. Further, a tobacco store may not sell or distribute tobacco by use of a coin machine, nor may they install or maintain a coin machine that is to be used for the sale or distribution of tobacco. (IC 35-46-1-11.5)
- Tobacco vending machines that are placed in locations allowable by law (as explained in #8 above) must have a conspicuous notice posted on them that reads as follows: "If you are under 21 years of age, YOU ARE FORBIDDEN by Indiana law to buy tobacco from this machine." This sign must read exactly as above, including the capitalization. Establishments selling tobacco at retail are required by law to post and maintain a sign that reads as follows: "The sale of tobacco to persons under 21 years of age is forbidden by Indiana law." This sign is to be printed in letters at least one-half (1/2) inch high and must be posted in a conspicuous place. (IC 35-46-1-11)
- Both tobacco vending machines and retail establishments are required to have signs posted stating "Smoking by pregnant women may result in fetal injury, premature birth, and low birth weight", as well as a toll free number for assistance in quitting smoking. Complimentary tobacco signs are available on the Tobacco Information page of the Alcohol & Tobacco Commission website.
Note: This list contains only a few of the laws and regulations that an establishment should be familiar with before selling tobacco. When in doubt, about any law, check it out beforehand so problems may be avoided. Remember:
"Get To Know The Law...
Before The Law Gets To Know You!"