In Texas, the rules on teenage vaping are simple: It’s illegal. Juveniles are not allowed to vape or smoke e-cigarettes at all, whether you’re talking nicotine or THC. And now, in addition to teenage vaping being a crime, a new Texas law will force students into alternative schools for vaping. In this article, our attorneys lay out the rules about vaping both THC and nicotine, plus we discuss the new law affecting students.
Vaping THC in Texas
Vaping THC is a felony in Texas, no matter how old you are. The law on this is Texas Health and Safety Code section 481.103. It makes it illegal to possess any amount of THC from sources other than the marijuana plant. These are the punishments for a THC possession conviction:
- Under one gram: State jail felony; 6 months to 2 years in jail and fines up to $10,000.
- 1-4 grams: Third-degree felony; 2 to 10 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
- 4-400 grams: Second-degree felony; 2 to 20 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
- More than 400 grams: First-degree felony; 5 to 99 years in prison and fines up to $50,000.
If the person is a juvenile, they will most likely be prosecuted in juvenile court, where these severe punishments will, thankfully, be off the table. Juveniles are more likely to be sentenced to drug counseling, probation, placement in a treatment facility or other non-prison options.
Vaping Nicotine in Texas
It’s illegal for anyone under age 21 to buy, possess or use a cigarette, e-cig or tobacco product. The one exception is military members: Active military members can buy and use tobacco starting at age 18.
Under Texas Health and Safety Code 161.252, people under 21 who use or possess tobacco, including in vape form, can be fined $100 and sentenced to community service. Remember, this law criminalizes vaping tobacco or nicotine, but that’s not the end of the list. It criminalizes chewing tobacco, cigars and anything else containing tobacco.
New Law Requires Alternative School for Teenage Vaping
As of September 1, 2023, any public school student found in possession of, using, selling or giving someone an e-cig/vape on school grounds or at a school-related event must be placed in the Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP).
The law, House Bill 114, requires temporary alternative schooling for any student caught with a vape/e-cigarette within 300 feet of school property. This is the penalty whether the vape contained THC or not. Essentially, this means vapes/e-cigs are now treated the same as bringing drugs or alcohol to school.
Facing Vaping Accusations? How Lee & Wood, LP Can Protect Your Child’s Future
If your child is accused of vaping, whether on school grounds or not, you should contact an experienced attorney right away. The defense lawyers of Lee & Wood, LP handle THC and juvenile law issues every day. We’ll fight to prevent a minor incident from haunting your child’s future.