The Vapor Technology Association (VTA) welcomes the passage of the Tobacco Products Act, signed into law in New Mexico by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham on March 4.
The governor and Senator Gabriel Ramos (D) pushed for the reform, which is designed to restrict youth access to e-cigarette products, while ensuring adults can continue to enjoy vapor products.
“Governor Lujan Grisham has shown true leadership and vision in the effort to further restrict youth vaping,” said Tony Abboud, executive director of VTA.
“New Mexico’s legislature has passed responsible legislation that takes concrete steps to eliminate the appeal of vapor products to youth and prevent people under 21 from accessing them. Moreover, the bill creates a clear framework that will help ensure the vapor products industry can continue to serve adults who are desperately trying to quit smoking,” said Abboud.
“We will continue to work with regulators and lawmakers across the country to achieve the twin goals of restricting youth vaping, which is already illegal, and preserving flavored alternatives for the millions of American adults who rely on them as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes.”
He added that the bill offers an excellent example of smart and balanced public policy.
“As a parent, and a Senator, it is my duty to protect the health of our children, and the public health of all New Mexicans,” Senator Ramos said. “With the passage of Senate Bill 131, New Mexico is now the leader in the country with the first comprehensive e-cigarette and nicotine liquid regulatory act. Strict marketing guidelines are now established to prohibit youth targeted marketing, and combat youth e-cigarette usage.”
The FDA has determined that 86% of youth usage is through social sources. The New Mexico legislation specifically targets the access points by preventing packaging attractive to minors and strict penalties for individuals selling products to minors, with or without a license.
Specifically, the new legislation:
Creates marketing and packaging standards that would not allow for products that are “knowingly attractive to minors.” This term is specifically defined in the bill to prevent packaging that uses cartoons, trademarked items specifically for kids, candy or images used in kids’ products.
Creates a licensing structure for e-cigarette manufacturers, distributors and retailers.
Requires ID check and verification.
Requires appropriate signage in retail locations stating, “It is illegal for a person under 21 years of age to purchase a tobacco product.”
Prohibits “straw man” sales and imposes misdemeanor penalties on those adults who legally purchase products only to resell them to minors illegally.
Imposes strict penalties for retailers caught selling to minors.
VTA has led national efforts to address underage use of e-cigarettes. Its comprehensive plan, announced last year, ensures controlled distribution of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, and to impose real limits on access and appeal of all tobacco products to youth.