Advertisement Laws: Drug Paraphernalia, Vape Products, Cigars, and Tobacco


Advertisement Laws: Drug Paraphernalia, Vape Products, Cigars, and Tobacco

Arizona is home to many retail stores where individuals may peruse and purchase products that span from drug paraphernalia to cigars, vape pens, vape products, and tobacco. Store owners can protect themselves from illegal advertising charges by understanding the laws Arizona lays out regarding these issues.

Advertisement of Drug Paraphernalia

Arizona details laws regarding drug paraphernalia in A.R.S. 13-3415. This statute defines “drug paraphernalia” broadly as any equipment, products, or materials used, intended for use, or designed for use in various drug-related activities. This includes kits for planting and growing drug-related plants, manufacturing devices, testing equipment, scales, and other items commonly associated with drug use or distribution.

According to A.R.S. 13-3415, it is unlawful to advertise such products under circumstances where a person would reasonably know that the advertisement’s purpose, whether in whole or in part, is:

To promote the sale of objects designed or intended for use as drug paraphernalia.

This includes advertisements placed in a newspaper, magazine, handbill, or any other publication.

Because this law is so broad, courts and law enforcement agencies are able to consider multiple factors in determining whether or not something is actually paraphernalia. This includes:

  • National and local advertising concerning its use.
  • Its proximity to drugs.
  • Written or oral instructions explaining its use.
  • The manner of its display.
  • Whether the owner, or anyone in control of the object, is a legitimate supplier of like or related items to the community, such as a licensed distributor or dealer of tobacco products.
  • Direct or circumstantial evidence of the ratio of sales of the object to the total sales of the business enterprise.
  • The existence and scope of legitimate uses for the object in the community.

Unlawfully advertising drug paraphernalia is a class 6 felony, for which a first-time offender can face incarceration of up to 2 years.

Advertisement of Tobacco and Vape Products

According to A.R.S 13-3622, tobacco products include cigars, cigarette, cigarette papers, smoking tobacco, and chewing tobacco.

Under the same statute, a vapor product is a noncombustible tobacco-derived product containing nicotine that employs a mechanical heating element, battery, or circuit, regardless of shape or size, that can be used to heat a liquid nicotine solution contained in cartridges.  Vapor product does not include any product that is regulated by the United States food and drug administration under chapter V of the federal food, drug, and cosmetic act.

It is important to note that tobacco products must be purchased in face-to-face transactions at a retail establishment, excluding pipe tobacco and cigars, pursuant to A.R.S. 36-798.06. Retailers should be sure not to advertise otherwise.

State law does not provide details regarding the lawful or unlawful advertising of these products, however any retail establishment should look to the municipal code of the city in which they are located for local laws regarding advertising. Examples include:

City of Mesa

The City of Mesa makes it unlawful to display any tobacco or vaping products in an area of their retail space that is accessible to the public without employee assistance. A violation is a civil offense with fines ranging from $150 to $2500 depending on the reoccurrence of the offense.

As such, products may not be set out as part of an advertisement display in a manner which violates this city law.

City of Scottsdale

The City of Scottsdale makes it illegal to advertise any goods, wares, merchandise, services, or facilities on any street within the city unless otherwise applicable. However, the city does permit advertising by billboards, direct mail, radio, television, and other means, with the associated gross income taxed by the city.

City of Phoenix

The City of Phoenix does not allow signage, posters, banners, shields, flags, signs, or any other decorative device bearing advertisement to be placed in any streets, alleys, or other city property by anyone who has not been awarded a permit by the city to do so.

Window signs that exceed more than 30% of the window are illegal, as are wall sings that generally exceed one-square foot of sign for each foot of building elevation.

City of Phoenix provides a listing of illegal signs here.



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