Smoking Tobacco: Texas Penal Code §48.01

Texas Criminal Law

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The Texas Smoking Tobacco law gives police the right to arrest you if they believe you smoked tobacco or used an e-cigarette in one of the prohibited places listed in the statute, including schools, libraries, hospitals, buses, elevators, and planes.

This is the Texas state law that prohibits smoking indoors, but it only covers certain indoor facilities. While this state law applies to only a limited number of indoor facilities, municipalities can create (and have created) their own prohibitions against smoking indoors.

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The Texas legislature codified this criminal offense in Texas Penal Code Section 48.01. The legislature did not update this law in 2023. In fact, this law has not been amended since 2015, when the legislature amended the statute to ensure that vapes were treated the same as cigarettes.

What is the current Texas law about Smoking Tobacco?

The current Texas law defines the offense of Smoking Tobacco in Penal Code Section §48.01 as follows:[1]

(a-1) A person commits an offense if the person is in possession of a burning tobacco product, smokes tobacco, or operates an e-cigarette in a facility of a public primary or secondary school or an elevator, enclosed theater or movie house, library, museum, hospital, transit system bus, intrastate bus, plane, or train which is a public place.

Does the Smoking Tobacco offense apply to e-cigarettes and vapes?

Yes, the law applies to e-cigarettes and vapes. In 2015, the Texas legislature passed a law that treated e-cigarettes the same as other tobacco products.[2]

Is it illegal in Texas to smoke indoors?

Under this statewide Texas law, Smoking Tobacco is prohibited indoors across Texas, but only in certain facilities. The law applies to vapes, too.

How can I be charged with a Smoking Tobacco offense in Texas?

You can be charged with Smoking Tobacco in Texas if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 48.01(a-1) as described in the section above have been met.

What is the statute of limitation for Smoking Tobacco in Texas?

As a misdemeanor, Smoking Tobacco charges have a two-year limitations period.[3]

What is the penalty for a Texas Smoking Tobacco offense?

A conviction for Smoking Tobacco in Texas is punished as a Class C misdemeanor,[4] with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $500. Learn about the differences between grades of felonies and misdemeanors here.

Can you get probation for Smoking Tobacco in Texas?

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure allows both judges and juries to grant probation for Smoking Tobacco, and judges are also allowed to accept deferred adjudication plea deals.[5]

What level of crime is Smoking Tobacco in Texas?

The Penal Code classifies Smoking Tobacco as a Class C misdemeanor.

Learn more about the penalty range for this offense in the section above.

^1. Texas Penal Code §48.01^2. SB 97, 84th Texas Legislature, Section 2^3. See Code of Criminal Procedure 12.02(a)^4. Texas Penal Code §48.01(f)^5. See Chapter 42, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Art. 42A.054, Art. 42A.056, Art. 42A.102 .

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