JACKSON, MS – June 29, 2020 – Senate Bill 2596 has moved quickly through the Legislature in an effort to regulate e-cigarettes. The below is a statement from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Mississippi Government Relations Director Kimberly Hughes in reaction.
“While we appreciate the Mississippi Legislature’s proactive measure to help reduce the use of e-cigarettes among our youth, SB 2596 simply doesn’t go far enough. We are especially concerned that the bill fails to tax e-cigarettes as a tobacco products and places penalties on youth for purchase, use and possession (PUP) of tobacco products.
Evidence shows regular and significant taxes on tobacco products are one of the most effective ways to prevent kids from using tobacco products. Penalizing kids for purchasing, using or possessing tobacco products is not an effective approach to reduce youth tobacco use and inappropriately shifts the blame for underage tobacco use from the tobacco industry and retailers, to young people. Youth in low-income and rural communities are disproportionaly affected by such laws given higher smoking rates and PUP laws may be used to target certain youth. Evidence shows African American and Hispanic youth report receiving citations more frequently than white youth.
At a critical juncture for public health, we should be doing everything in our power to keep our communities healthy and safe by building strong public health policies that include comprehensive tobacco control measures.
To truly protect our children from the industry’s pressure, non-compliant retailers and repeat offenders need to be held accountable and have their tobacco retail license suspended and revoked for continuing to sell tobacco products to people under 21. Additionally, we need to tax e-cigarettes as tobacco products. Regular and significant increases in tobacco taxes are one of the most effective ways to protect kids from a lifelong addiction and help those already addicted to quit.
We look forward to working with lawmakers next session to pass these evidence-based policies that wil truly prioritize Mississippi’s youth, reduce disparities and create a safe environment for all our children – not continue to wedge a gap by unfairly punishing them.”
About ACS CAN
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.