2010 Tennessee Code
Title 39 - Criminal Offenses
Chapter 17 - Offenses Against Public Health, Safety and Welfare
Part 15 - Prevention of Youth Access to Tobacco
39-17-1505 - Prohibited purchases or possession by minors Penalties.

39-17-1505. Prohibited purchases or possession by minors Penalties.

(a)  It is unlawful for a person who has not attained eighteen (18) years of age to possess a tobacco product, to purchase or accept receipt of a tobacco product, or to present or offer to any person any purported proof of age which is false, fraudulent, or not actually that person's own for the purpose of purchasing or receiving any tobacco product.

(b)  Any person who violates this section shall be issued a citation by a law enforcement officer or school principal who has evidence of the violation. The citation shall require the person to appear in the juvenile court for the county in which the violation is alleged to have occurred. At the time of issuance of the citation, the tobacco product shall be seized as contraband by the law enforcement officer or school principal.

(c)  A violation of this section is a civil offense, the penalty for which is a civil penalty of not less than ten dollars ($10.00) nor more than fifty dollars ($50.00). Upon its determination that the person has violated this section, the juvenile court shall determine the amount of the civil penalty and shall order the destruction of the tobacco product. The juvenile court may, in its discretion, also impose community service work not to exceed fifty (50) hours or successful completion of a prescribed teen court program for a second or subsequent violation within a one-year period.

(d)  A minor who is cooperating with law enforcement officers in an operation designed to test the compliance of other persons with the provisions of this part shall not be subject to sanctions under this section.

(e)  As used in this section, “law enforcement officer” means an officer, employee or agent of government who is authorized by law to investigate the commission or suspected commission of violations of Tennessee law.

(f)  It is not unlawful for a person under eighteen (18) years of age to handle or transport:

     (1)  Tobacco or tobacco products as a part of and in the course of the person's employment; provided, that the person is under the supervision of another employee who is at least twenty-one (21) years of age; or

     (2)  Tobacco as part of an educational project that has been developed by the person for entry and display at an agricultural fair or other agricultural competition or event.

(g)  Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a person under eighteen (18) years of age from handling or transporting tobacco as part of and in the course of the person's involvement in any aspect of the agricultural production or storage of tobacco, the sale of raw tobacco at market or the transportation of raw tobacco to a processing facility.

[Acts 1994, ch. 872, § 5; 1999, ch. 354, §§ 5-7; 2001, ch. 341, § 11.]  

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