Vaping, e-cigarette

Vaping is inhaling and exhaling the aerosol from an e-cigarette which is a battery powered vaporizer. E-cigarettes are made up of a cartridge that holds a liquid, a heating element, a power source and a mouthpiece for the user to inhale. 

In an effort to curb youth vaping, Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill in May limiting where vaping products can be sold and advertised.

The new law will require retailers who sell vaping products to follow laws already in place for tobacco.

“It is trying to treat vaping products the same as tobacco products,” Rep. Ed Oliver (R-Dadeville) said. “We are trying to keep kids from vaping.”

Rep. Shane Stringer (R-Mobile) said Alabama was one of only three states that did not prohibit sales of vaping products to minors, but Stringer said the law did make it illegal for minors to possess the products.

“The retailers could sell to minors without any repercussions,” Stringer said.

Stringer said the new law will put vaping products, like tobacco products, under regulations by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

Provisions of the new law that went into effect in August are as follows:

• The new law requires vape shops and those selling vaping products to have a tobacco license.

• Prohibits advertising for vaping and other alternative nicotine products as healthy options to replace smoking.

• Puts regulation of e-cigarettes and vape products under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

• Restricts the selling of vaping and nicotine products to anyone under age 19. Violating this provision could result in a fine of up to $300 and up to 30 days in jail.

• Prohibits advertising vaping products near schools or opening vape shops within 1,000 feet of a school, childcare facility, church, youth center or public library, playground or park.

• Limits billboard advertising for vaping liquid to offers for only three flavors – tobacco, mint or menthol. Critics said fruit-flavored vaping liquids attracts younger users.

In January 2020 more restrictions will be placed on vaping products. The law will prohibit counties from issuing a license to vaping products distributors as specialty retailers if the business is located within 1,000 feet of a school, licensed childcare facilities or preschools, churches, public libraries, public playgrounds, public parks, youth centers or spaces primarily for youth-oriented activities. 

The January provision does not apply to vaping product distributors that have a specialty retailer business license if they have conducted business for at least 18 consecutive months and the location is near one of the prohibited locations.

Oliver said in general he is for less government and regulations but not in this case.

“I voted for this,” Oliver said. “I think it’s protecting kids from themselves.”

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.