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House Bill 440 — Smoking products, minors, penalties

House Bill 440 — Smoking products, minors, penalties

Parrish Miller
January 31, 2024

Bill Description: House Bill 440 would impose severe criminal penalties, including incarceration, on those who sell or offer tobacco or vaping products or devices to anyone under the age of 21.

Rating: -1

Does it directly or indirectly create or increase penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for nonviolent crimes? Conversely, does it eliminate or decrease penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non-violent crimes?

House Bill 440 would amend Section 39-5705, Idaho Code, to say that any person who sells, distributes, or offers "tobacco products or electronic smoking devices to a minor" shall "be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction may be punished by a fine of no less than five hundred dollars ($500) and no more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) per violation, or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not to exceed one (1) year, or by both such fine and imprisonment."

A second or subsequent offense would double the fine to "no less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) and no more than two thousand dollars ($2,000) per violation," with the same incarceration period. 

These are severe and non-restorative penalties that would apply even to consensual transactions between individuals who are typically regarded as legal adults. This would happen because Idaho law incongruously defines a "minor" as "a person under twenty-one (21) years of age" when it comes to tobacco and vaping products. 


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