The growing vaping epidemic has gained the attention of law and policymakers across the country. States and local governments are fighting back against unscrupulous, deceptive marketing practices by vaping device makers such as the leading vaping manufacturer, JUUL. Alabama just joined those ranks of jurisdictions cracking down on the industry and those selling the devices in its communities.
During the 2019 Alabama Legislative Session, lawmakers passed and Governor Kay Ivey enacted HB41 to better regulate and provide more oversight of the manufacture, sale, and marketing of alternative nicotine products including vaping devices.
“Vaping makers like JUUL have shown a complete disregard for the health or safety of our kids and it is encouraging to see our elected leaders taking a stand against their incredibly callous nature and deception,” said Joseph VanZandt, a Beasley Allen attorney handling claims against JUUL. “Our clients hope to send a message to JUUL and other companies looking to follow their lead that you cannot build a multi-billion-dollar empire by lying about the safety of your product and not be held accountable for the harm it unleashes.”
Beasley Allen clients claim that JUUL addiction has seriously disrupted and damaged their physical and mental health.
The bi-partisan bill was introduced by Representative Shane Stringer (R-Mobile) and Representative Barbara Drummond (D-Mobile) and made Alabama just one of three states that criminalizes selling a vaping device to a child. A number of advocacy groups worked diligently to help shepherd the bill through the legislative process, including the American Heart Association (AHA).
“While it could be stronger, the new law moves Alabama in a better direction with regard to protecting youth and teens from the dangers of nicotine addiction and other dangers linked to vaping,” said Jada Shaffer, Alabama’s Government Relations Director for the AHA.
Alabama’s new law went into effect last Friday and includes the following provisions:
- Prohibits vaping retailers and manufacturers from advertising the products near schools and from opening new places of business near schools, child care centers, churches, and other facilities.
- Prevents vaping retailers and manufacturers from advertising vaping products as tobacco cessation devices, as a healthy alternative to smoking, or as being available in any variety of flavors except for tobacco, mint, or menthol.
- Requires vaping retailers to have a tobacco license from the Alabama ABC Board and to comply with FDA regulations governing the retail sale of vaping products and electronic nicotine delivery systems. They also must post warning signs in their stores regarding the dangers of nicotine use and potential risks associated with vaping.
- Prohibits the sale or transfer of vaping products or electronic nicotine delivery systems to minors.
Additionally, beginning January 1, 2020, the law will prohibit counties from issuing a business license to vaping products distributors as specialty retailers if the business is located 1,000 feet of public schools, private K-12 schools, licensed child-care facilities or preschools, churches, public libraries, public playgrounds, public parks, and youth centers or other spaces used primarily for youth-oriented activities. This provision does not apply to vaping product distributors that have a specialty retailer business license if they have conducted business for at least 18 consecutive months and that remain at a location near one of the prohibited areas.
Our firm is dedicated and equipped to bringing JUUL to justice and to help and protect the thousands of people including minors who have been victimized by this company. If you need more information, contact Joseph VanZandt or Sydney Everett in our Mass Torts Section.