Alabama Legislature Debates Anti-Vaping Legislation to Keep Minors Healthy

Anti-Vaping Legislation Introduced In Alabama Legislature

Published 5:22 pm Tuesday, May 16, 2023

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Vaping is a popular alternative to cigarette smoking, but Alabama lawmakers are debating an amendment to existing law that could make it illegal for anyone under age 21 to buy, use, possess, or transport any vaping devices or materials, including e-liquids, CBD oil, or nicotine salt, or any other substance that a person might inhale using vaping devices. 

The proposed amendment, introduced by State Senator Vivian Figures, aims to keep minors healthy by eliminating underaged access to vaping devices. 

Figures explained to members of the Drug Education Council that nearly 20% of high school students in Alabama admit to vaping, which may lead to higher healthcare costs, a loss of productivity, and a higher morbidity.

The legislation is supported by Children First, an advocacy group that aims to give schools the help they need to keep vaping devices off school grounds. 

According to Lowndes County District Court Judge Adrian Johnson, the vaping industry has purposefully targeted younger users through their utilization of flavored options and advertising campaigns depicting vaping as a safe alternative to smoking. While the vaping industry must be better regulated to prevent such practices, there must also be accountability on the part of underaged users, making the possession of a vaping device by a minor a crime,” he stated. Juvenile probationers have been caught using vaping devices for illegal substances, he added. 

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) website reports that vaping or e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among youth, and nicotine is highly addictive in e-cigarettes as well as regular cigarettes. Research shows vaping nicotine can slow brain development in teens and can affect memory, concentration, learning, self-control, and mood. The ADPH website also points to vaping among youth increasing risks to develop other types of addictions. Therefore, it is essential to outlaw underaged vaping in Alabama and make it similar to the laws preventing underaged drinking, said Virginia Guy, executive director of the council. 

With the proposed amendment, Alabama would become a leader in the effort to keep minors healthy by combating underaged vaping.

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