A new vape law that legislators believe will make it harder for minors to access vaping products will take effect in Alabama this summer.
On June 6, Governor Kay Ivey signed The Stringer-Drummond Vaping Act into law, introducing stricter regulatory oversight on manufacturers of vape products and the retailers that sell them.
Rep. Barbara Drummond, a first-term lawmaker from Mobile, said she introduced the law in response to educators throughout the state who said youth vaping had become a serious problem in recent years.
“During my campaign, every school administrator I spoke to asked me if I was elected and when I was elected to please address this problem,” Rep. Stringer told AL.com.
She also said she has witnessed the youth vaping problem first-hand. She routinely collects cell phones from the 12-year-old students in her Sunday school class because they can be a distraction. One day, she confiscated a device that she thought was a computer zip drive because the student seemed to be preoccupied with it. That device turned out to be a JUUL, a vaping product that is wildly popular among kids and teens.
Rep. Shane Stringer, also of Mobile, co-sponsored the anti-vape bill. He told AL.com that Alabama was one of just three states that did not prohibit the sale of vaping products to minors. Until the new law was passed, Alabama had only a backward piece of legislation that made it illegal for minors to possess vape products yet allowed retailers to sell vape products to minors without repercussion.
The new law, which will take effect Aug. 1, will put vaping products under the oversight of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, which also regulates tobacco products.
Under the new law, retailers who sell vape products are required to have a tobacco permit. The law also prohibits the sale of vape products to anyone younger than 19, and bars companies from advertising vape and other nicotine products as smoking-cessation devices or healthy alternatives to smoking.
Federal and state regulators and lawmakers share the blame with manufacturers for the youth vaping epidemic that has seen minors become addicted to nicotine in alarming numbers. While many other countries acted quickly to restrict or ban the sale of vape products to minors, U.S. regulators took a wait-and-see approach that allowed JUUL and other companies to market and sell nicotine products to people of all ages without restriction. Subsequently, millions of U.S. children and teens now potentially face a lifetime of nicotine addiction and all the detrimental health and development effects it poses.
A conviction for selling or giving anyone younger than 19 one of these products would result in a $100 to $300 fine and up to 30 days in jail. The bill also prohibits advertising vape products near schools and opening vape shops within 1,000 feet of a school, childcare facility, church, youth center, public library, playground or park.
Rep. Drummond told AL.com that she feels “really good about this bill” because it brings the state of Alabama “in step with the rest of the nation” with strict vape regulations.
Beasley Allen lawyers Joseph VanZandt and Sydney Everett are handling cases involving injuries related to vaping. We are looking at cases involving adolescent addiction and injuries including seizures, strokes, lung problems, and cardiovascular problems related to the use of JUUL vaping devices. If you have these type cases, we would like to work with you.