Bill regulating tobacco and nicotine sales and advertising ready for House debate

Legislation to increase the age for sales, possession and transportation of tobacco and other nicotine-based products to 21 is ready for debate before the House of Representatives.

Rep. Barbara Drummond, D-Mobile, said she expects to have floor substitute for HB119, which is co-sponsored by Shane Stringer, R-Citronelle. The House State Government Committee gave the bill a favorable report Thursday.

Tobacco and e-cigarette sales to anyone younger than 21 have been illegal since late December, under federal law.

>> Learn more about federal Tobacco 21 and flavored vapes

Prior to the passage of the federal law, only 19 states set the minimum purchase age for all tobacco products at 21 with three of those states offering some exemptions. Although a state law is not necessary for the 21-purchase age to be enforced nationwide, several states have begun moving toward enactment of a state statute to reinforce federal law.

HB119 also would further regulate tobacco, electronic nicotine delivery and alternative nicotine product advertising.

It also prohibits:

  • tobacco or nicotine products in vending machines unless the machines are in an area only accessible by those 21 or older;
  • retailers and manufacturers of tobacco and other nicotine delivery systems from sponsoring scholarships or advertising in public venues; and
  • labeling or marketing of nicotine products as candy, cake or pie flavors or as food brands that appeal to children. As of Thursday, Feb. 6, the only flavored cartridge e-cigarettes that can be made or purchased nationwide without risk of FDA enforcement action are tobacco or menthol.

Another provision of HB119 requires a separate purchase age poster specifically for alternative nicotine products and electronic nicotine delivery systems that also warns of the dangers of vaping.

A law enacted in 2019 already regulates vape and other alternate nicotine products and their advertising in Alabama.

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