TITLE 11
Criminal Offenses

CHAPTER 11-9
Children

SECTION 11-9-13.11


§ 11-9-13.11 Prohibition on the sale or distribution of tobacco products through the mail conveyance of tobacco products through the mail to children under eighteen (18) – Proof of age of purchaser required – General rule.

(a) The distribution, or sale or conveyance of tobacco products to children under the age of eighteen (18) via the United States Postal Service, or by any other public or private postal or package delivery service, shall be prohibited.

(b) Any person selling or distributing tobacco products in the form of cigars, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, or snuff directly to a consumer via the United States Postal Service, or by any other public or private postal or package delivery service, including orders placed by mail, telephone, facsimile, or internet, shall: (1) before distributing or selling the tobacco product through any of these means, receive both a copy of a valid form of government identification showing date of birth to verify the purchaser is age eighteen (18) years or over and an attestation from the purchaser certifying that the information on the government identification truly and correctly identifies the purchaser and the purchaser's current address, and (2) deliver the tobacco product to the address of the purchaser given on the valid form of government identification and by a postal or package delivery service method that either limits delivery to that purchaser and requires the purchaser to sign personally to receive the delivery or requires a signature of an adult at the purchaser's address to deliver the package.

(c) The attorney general shall bring an action for any violation of this chapter. Any distribution, or sale or conveyance of a tobacco product to a child under eighteen (18) years of age via the United States Postal Service, or by any other public or private postal or package delivery service, shall be subject to an action against the distributor, or seller or conveyor by the attorney general of the state of Rhode Island. A minimum fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000) shall be assessed against any distributor, or seller or conveyor convicted of distributing, or selling or conveying tobacco products via the United States postal service, or by any other public or private postal or package delivery service, for each delivery, or sale or conveyance of a tobacco product to a child under eighteen (18) years of age.

(d) For the purpose of this section, "distribution," "distributing," "selling" and "sale" do not include the acts of the United States Postal Service or other common carrier when engaged in the business of transporting and delivering packages for others or the acts of a person, whether compensated or not, who transports or delivers a package for another person without any reason to know of the package's contents.

(e) Any delivery sale of cigarettes shall be made pursuant to the provisions of chapter 20.1 of title 44. The provisions of this section shall apply to each tobacco product listed in subsection (b) herein, but shall not apply to any delivery sale of cigarettes.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1996, ch. 321, § 1; P.L. 2000, ch. 210, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 346, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 392, § 1.)