MONTGOMERY, Ala. – (April 5, 2021) – Today, health advocate groups in Alabama issued the following statement regarding House Bill 273, which passed the Alabama House of Representatives last Tuesday.
“We are pleased that Alabama lawmakers are working to address the youth e-cigarette epidemic, which is creating a new generation addicted to tobacco products. Unfortunately, House Bill 273 does not adequately update our tobacco control laws to restrict youth access to tobacco, including e-cigarettes, and reduce youth use.
“This proposed bill does increase the age of sale to 21 for tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to comply with the federal law, however it misses the opportunity to update critical tobacco control measures including improvements to e-cigarette and nicotine product definitions, strengthening tobacco retailer licensing provisions, and repealing youth penalties. Without these important revisions, this bill will not prevent unlawful sales or reduce youth tobacco use in Alabama.
“HB 273 specifically limits the regulation of e-cigarettes to those containing nicotine while striking language referring to ‘whether or not the liquid contains nicotine.’ This categorization places an impossible burden on the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) to attempt to differentiate between non-nicotine and nicotine electronic cigarettes. ALEA is unable to rely on the tobacco and e-cigarette industry to tell the truth given their history of lying about whether their products contained nicotine. This is bad public health policy and will present many challenges and loopholes for the tobacco industry to capitalize on as they continue to addict youth and young adults to tobacco.
“We urge senators to vote no on House Bill 273 as the bill would do nothing to drive down tobacco use in Alabama. Instead, it creates confusion and loopholes for the tobacco industry to exploit and could eliminate years of progress in the fight to reduce tobacco use in Alabama. If lawmakers are serious about reducing tobacco use, they will support strong tobacco control laws, such as enacting comprehensive tobacco retail licensing that will restrict youth access to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, and provide a framework for enforcing tobacco control policies.
“Our organizations have decades of experience in proven tobacco control strategies and look forward to working with lawmakers to create adequate and effective policies to reduce youth tobacco use.”
Alabama Citizen’s Action Program (ALCAP)
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)
American Heart Association
American Lung Association
Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids
Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation
Alabama Citizen’s Action Program (ALCAP)
ALCAP is an interdenominational ministry that, working together with the churches of Alabama, serves as “Alabama’s moral compass.” We are a resource for churches, organizations and interested individuals who desire to make Alabama a safer state for every citizen. An ethical, moral and responsible lifestyle based on biblical standards is an attainable goal that will benefit the entire state. We are especially dedicated to protecting our children from the dangers associated with immoral behaviors and the temptations they face in life. We strive, through legislation, consultation and the American Character Builders educational programs, to provide young people, parents, and churches with the resources they need in order to make wise decisions in life.
About ACS CAN at 20
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for policymakers at every level of government. ACS CAN empowers volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to influence evidence-based public policy change that saves lives. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and made workplaces, including restaurants and bars, smoke-free. As we mark our 20th anniversary, we’re more determined than ever to stand together with our volunteers and save more lives from cancer. Join the fight by visiting www.fightcancer.org.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
About the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is the leading advocacy organization working to reduce tobacco use and its deadly consequences in the United States and around the world. Through strategic communications and policy advocacy campaigns, we promote the adoption of proven solutions that are most effective at reducing tobacco use and save the most lives. For more information, visit tobaccofreekids.org.
About Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation
The Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation (PTAF) and its advocacy arm, Tobacco 21, work nationwide to raise the legal minimum sales age to 21 and advance legislation to prevent youth initiation and addiction to tobacco and nicotine through strong enforcement and retail licensing laws.