Starting Aug. 1, vape retailers must get tobacco permit, limit advertising and make no sales to minors, under new law

On Aug. 1, the state of Alabama will begin oversight and regulation of retailers who sell vape and other alternate nicotine products.

In late May, Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law Act No. 2019 – 233 by Reps. Shane Stringer, R-Mobile, and Barbara Drummond, D-Mobile.

The Stringer-Drummond Vaping Act:

  • requires vape shops to have a tobacco permit;
  • prohibits advertising vape and other alternate nicotine products as cessation devices or healthy alternatives to smoking and, among other provisions; and
  • requires the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to regulate e-cigarettes and vape products.

The law also in various ways restricts the in-store and online sale of alternative nicotine products and electronic nicotine delivery systems to minors. Under federal law, it is illegal to sell any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes, to anyone under the age of 21. Under the state law, conviction for selling or giving a minor one of these products would result in a $100 to $300 fine and up to 30 days in jail. The state law also prohibits advertising such products near schools and or opening vape shops within 1,000 feet of a school, childcare facility, church, youth center or public library, playground or park.

Although there are more than 15,000 flavors for vaping liquid, under the state law, retailers and manufacturers can only advertise the flavors of tobacco, mint or menthol on outdoor billboards. “They can advertise anywhere but billboards,” said Drummond. Starting Feb. 6, 2020, the only flavored cartridge e-cigarettes that can be made or purchased without risk of U.S. Food and Drug Administration enforcement action will be tobacco or menthol.

In Alabama, almost 8,000 retailers sell tobacco products. The number of vape shops in the state was unknown at the time of this law’s passage as previously those businesses were not required to have a tobacco permit.

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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