The Legislature hereby declares it to be the policy and intent of this state to discourage and ban the use of tobacco products by minors. As basis for this policy, the Legislature hereby finds and accepts the medical evidence that smoking tobacco may cause lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema and other serious health problems while the use of smokeless tobacco may cause gum disease and oral cancer. It is the further intent of the Legislature in banning the use of tobacco products by minors to ease the personal tragedy and eradicate the severe economic loss associated with the use of tobacco and to provide the state with a citizenry free from the use of tobacco.
(1) Any pipe, cigarette paper or any other paper prepared, manufactured or made for the purpose of smoking any tobacco or tobacco product; or
(2) Any cigar, cigarette, snuff, chewing tobacco or tobacco product, in any form.
(b) Any firm or corporation that violates any of the provisions of subdivision (1) or (2), subsection (a) of this section and any individual who violates any of the provisions of subdivision (1), subsection (a) of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined $50 for the first offense. Upon any subsequent violation at the same location or operating unit, the firm, corporation or individual shall be fined as follows: At least $250 but not more than $500 for the second offense, if it occurs within two years of the first conviction; at least $500 but not more than $750 for the third offense, if it occurs within two years of the first conviction;; and at least $1,000 but not more than $5,000 for any subsequent offenses, if the subsequent offense occurs within five years of the first conviction.
(c) Any individual who knowingly and intentionally sells, gives or furnishes or causes to be sold, given or furnished to any person under the age of eighteen years any cigar, cigarette, snuff, chewing tobacco or tobacco product, in any form, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, for the first offense shall be fined not more than $100; upon conviction thereof for a second or subsequent offense, is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500.
(d) Any employer who discovers that his or her employee has sold or furnished tobacco products to minors may dismiss such employee for cause. Any such discharge shall be considered as "gross misconduct" for the purposes of determining the discharged employee's eligibility for unemployment benefits in accordance with the provisions of section three, article six, chapter twenty-one-a of this code, if the employer has provided the employee with prior written notice in the workplace that such act or acts may result in their termination from employment.
Every person who shall smoke a cigarette or cigarettes, pipe, cigar or other implement, of any type or nature, designed, used or employed for smoking any tobacco or tobacco product; or who shall use any tobacco product, whether chewing tobacco, snuff or otherwise, in any building or part thereof used for instructional purposes, in any school of this state, as defined in section one, article one, chapter eighteen of this code, or on any lot or grounds actually used for instructional purposes of any such school of this state while such school is used or occupied for school purposes, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished for each offense by a fine of not less than one nor more than five dollars: Provided, That this prohibition shall not be construed to prevent the use of any tobacco or tobacco product in any faculty lounge or staff lounge or faculty office or other area of said public school not used for instructional porposes: Provided, however, That students do not have access thereto: Provided further, That nothing herein contained shall be construed to prevent any county board of education from promulgating rules and regulations that further restrict the use of tobacco or tobacco products, in any form, from any other part or section of any public school building under its jurisdiction.
(a) Any outdoor billboard advertisement for snuff and chewing tobacco products must conspicuously display one of the following statements:
"WARNING: THIS PRODUCT MAY CAUSE MOUTH CANCER"
"WARNING: THIS PRODUCT MAY CAUSE GUM DISEASE AND TOOTH LOSS"
"WARNING: THIS PRODUCT IS NOT A SAFE ALTERNATIVE TO
The warnings shall be rotated every four months by the manufacturer, packager or importer of snuff and chewing tobacco products in an alternating sequence in the advertisement for each brand of such tobacco product. Such warning shall appear in the format and type style prescribed under 15 U.S.C. 1333 (b) (3), as amended.
No other warning, format, or type style in any outdoor billboard advertisement shall be required by any state or local statute or regulation.
(b) Any outdoor billboard advertisement that does not conform to the provisions of this section shall be deemed a nuisance affecting the public health.
Acts, 1993 1st Ex. Sess., Ch. 9.
(b) A person charged with a violation of section two or three of this article as the result of an inspection under subsection (a) of this section has a complete defense if, at the time the cigarette or other tobacco product or cigarette wrapper was sold, delivered, bartered, furnished or given:
(1) The buyer or recipient falsely evidenced that he was eighteen years of age or older;
(2) The appearance of the buyer or recipient was such that a prudent person would believe the buyer or recipient to be eighteen years of age or older; and
(3) Such person carefully checked a driver's license or an identification card issued by this state or another state of the United States, a passport or a United States armed services identification card presented by the buyer or recipient and acted in good faith and in reliance upon the representation and appearance of the buyer or recipient in the belief that the buyer or recipient was eighteen years of age or older.
(c) Any fine collected after a conviction of violating section two of this article shall be paid to the clerk of the court in which the conviction was obtained: Provided, That the clerk of the court upon receiving the fine shall promptly notify the commissioner of the West Virginia alcohol beverage control administration of the conviction and the collection of the fine: Provided, however, That any community service penalty imposed after a conviction of violating section three of this article shall be recorded by the clerk of the court in which the conviction was obtained: Provided further, That the clerk of the court upon being advised that community service obligations have been fulfilled shall promptly notify the commissioner of the West Virginia alcohol beverage control administration of the conviction and the satisfaction of imposed community service penalty.
(d) The commissioner of the West Virginia alcohol beverage control administration or his or her designee shall prepare and submit to the governor on the last day of September of each year a report of the enforcement and compliance activities undertaken pursuant to this section and the results of the same, with a copy to the secretary of the West Virginia department of health and human resources. The report shall be in the form and substance that the governor shall submit to the applicable state and federal programs.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person or business entity shall possess, import, sell, offer for sale or distribute any tobacco product commonly referred to as "bidis" or "beedies."
(c) For purposes of this section, "bidis" or "beedies" means a product containing tobacco that is wrapped in temburni leaf or leaves (diospyros melanoxylon) or tendu leaf or leaves (diospyros exculpra), or any other product or substance that is offered to or purchased by consumers as bidis or beedies. As used in this section, the terms "bidis" and "beedies" have the same meaning and may be used interchangeably.
(d) Any person violating the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars; and upon a second or subsequent conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than one thousand nor more than five thousand dollars for each offense, or confined in a county or regional jail not more than six months, or both.
(b) No person or business entity may sell or offer for sale cigarettes in a package that contains fewer than twenty cigarettes.
(c) No person or business entity may sell or offer for sale single cigarettes.
(d) A person or business entity may not sell or offer for sale cigarettes in any form that does not display the warnings with the display characteristics required by the provisions of 15 U.S.C. §1333(b)(3), as amended.
(e) Any person or business entity who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined $250.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2013 1st Special Session
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.