MONTGOMERY — Legislation establishing new fines, fees and regulations related to the vaping industry in Alabama wasn't passed into law this session.
The legislative session ended on Tuesday. The legislation had passed the House and the Senate Judiciary Committee but was never brought back up on Tuesday on the Senate floor after being carried over at the call of the chair last week.
House Bill 319 (HB 319) by State Rep. Barbara Drummond (D-Mobile) and State Sen. Garlan Gudger (R-Cullman) would've made it illegal for retailers to sell all vape products to youth under 21, makes it illegal for youth under 21 to purchase, use and possess and transport all vaping products; requires all vape products to be placed in an area not accessible to individuals under 21, identifies and regulates the specialty retailers of electronic nicotine, and creates a tobacco licensing and compliance fund for tobacco and nicotine prevention, education and operational costs.
"We've had a lot of discussion in caucus back and forth on that and being able to make sure that we have the correct bill that minimizes youth being able to get these products in their hands," Gudger said on Tuesday's broadcast of Alabama Public Television's "Capitol Journal." "It's been a decision not to pass the bill in haste at the last day because we're wanting to pass that but making sure that we have the correct bill so we're going to be bringing that and it will be one of the first bills that I bring up with Rep. Barbara Drummond to make sure that it happens for next year."
The bill was opposed by public health groups such as the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, and the American Heart Association due to the legislation continuing to "allow the tobacco industry and its retailers to run rampant across Alabama," according to a letter from those groups and others sent to lawmakers on May 11. The vaping industry also opposed the bill due to the legislation limiting what types of non-tobacco nicotine products could be sold in the state.
The bill was supported by K-12 administrators wishing to stop students from using vapor products. "Vaping" is essentially an electronic cigarette that is an alternative to traditional forms of tobacco like cigarettes.
To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email caleb.taylor@1819News.com.
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