The Youth Access to Tobacco Prevention Act of 2006 (Section 16-17-500, as amended, Code of Laws of SC, 1976), states that youth under the age of 18 years must not purchase, attempt to purchase, possess, or attempt to possess a tobacco product or an alternative nicotine product or present or offer proof of age that is false or fraudulent for the purpose of purchasing or possessing a tobacco product or an alternative nicotine product. A minor who violates this provision may be subject to penalties including a civil fine up to $25, to include all applicable court costs, assessments, and surcharges.
In lieu of the civil fine, the court may require a minor to successfully complete a Department of Health and Environmental Control approved smoking cessation or tobacco prevention program, or to perform not more than five hours of community service for a charitable institution.
DHEC's Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control will approve only those smoking cessation or tobacco prevention programs that meet the requirements of a proven and effective program.
For areas in the state without trained facilitators in any of the above curricula, a program has been adapted from the state of Utah and approved by DHEC to provide services to youth who are appointed by the court to participate. The S. C. Youth Support Program (YSP) through Free and Clear, Inc., will provide an age-appropriate program and materials to youth who violate the state's Youth Access To Tobacco Prevention Act of 2006 and are assigned an alternative punishment. This service is telephone based and toll-free, and eliminates problems such as access to services, transportation, and scheduling for the youth. Referral form pads are available from DHEC for magistrates and municipal court judges to appoint the youth into the program (click here for PDF of order form). The youth receive certificates to notify the court that they have both enrolled in and completed the program. This program is available at no charge to the youth or court.
Additional programs and service will be posted to this website upon approval or when available. Please check the site often for the most up-to-date listing. DHEC is not responsible for costs associated with the use of these programs.
With the cooperation of local organizations, the Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control will attempt to maintain an updated database of local resources providing these programs. Submission of these programs or requests for further information may be directed to the Tobacco Division at (803) 545-4467.