Vape oversight bill & notification of parents of underage vape possession die on session’s final day

Two vape-related bills died on the final day of the Alabama Legislature’s 2023 regular session.

The Alabama Senate debated but did not vote June 1 on HB319 by Rep. Barbara Drummond, D-Mobile, and 53 other co-sponsors. Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman, handled the bill in the Senate. On June 6, the final day of the session, the bill did not resurface.

After a May 24 public hearing, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill that would have further regulated the vaping industry in Alabama, even adding one amendment. Several members said the bill needed “major corrections” before the full Senate would approve it. Various changes were raised on the floor of the Senate, but no amendments were added to the bill before it was carried over June 1 at the call of the chair. The presiding officer never called the bill up on the last day of the session.

HB319 would have among other provisions:

  • revised the definition of “electronic nicotine delivery system” to include delivery of substances other than tobacco. CBD oil, THC oil, herbal extracts and nicotine salts wer mentioned as examples of “other substances.”
  • prohibited the distribution of tobacco, tobacco products, electronic nicotine delivery systems, e-liquids, and alternative nicotine products through a vending machine or a self-service display. Tobacco specialty stores and specialty electronic nicotine delivery retailers could have a self-service display if the display is in an area that those younger than 21 could not access.
  • forbid any e-liquid manufacturer or manufacturer of alternative nicotine products or electronic nicotine delivery systems to distribute any product in Alabama that is not in the Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems Products Directory maintained by the Alabama Revenue Dept. It also would have forbid retailers to sell products not listed in the directory. Fines and other consequences would have been updated for both manufacturers and retailers under this bill.
  • distributed some of the monetary penalty proceeds to the Education Trust Fund to be used for vaping awareness, education and prevention programs in K-12 schools.
  • changed the consequences for those under the age of 21 who are found in possession of any tobacco, tobacco product, alternative nicotine product, electronic delivery system, or false proof of identification. An underage user could have received up to a $200 fine or 32 hours of community service.
  • excluded from penalties manufacturers of alternative nicotine products manufactured before Feb. 15, 2007, that are not sold or distributed in Alabama. This provision was added by the Senate Judiciary Committee to specifically apply to a Foley nicotine toothpick manufacturer that has been registered with the FDA for more than 20 years and sells online exclusively.

The state of Alabama first began oversight and regulation of those who sell vape and other alternate nicotine products in August of 2019. That law was last amended in 2021.

SB316 by Sen. Vivian Davis Figures, D-Mobile, which would have required law enforcement to “make reasonable efforts” to notify parents or guardians if someone under the age of 21 was in possession of a vaping device did not receive final consideration by the Alabama House on the last day of the 2023 session. The House Judiciary Committee had approved the bill May 31.

Figure’s bill would have required notification of parents of those younger than 21. It also would have made it illegal for anyone younger than 21 to buy or possess an electronic devise that delivers any e-liquid, e-liquid substitute, tobacco, CBD oil, THC oil, herbal extract or nicotine salt.

This article is part of the Alabama Retail Report, a communication for Alabama Retail Association members. Not a member? Join us!

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