Alabama is one of the newest states that would officially increase the minimum age requirement to be able to purchase tobacco products from 19 to 21 years old. This has gotten into effect as soon as House Bill 273 (HB 273) was signed by Governor Kay Ivey in May 2021.
Previously, Alabama’s minimum age requirement to purchase tobacco products is 19 years old. However, after a federal bill stating that the new tobacco purchasing age is 21 years old was signed by former President Donald Trump, a lot of states have started amending their legislation to be in compliance with the new law. Although the federal law is already in effect, local law enforcement in many states is not able to enforce this new law because they are only allowed to enforce state or municipality laws for which they work. So having this new state law signed was the only way for law enforcers to strictly enforce the requirements.
HB 273 got impressive approval throughout the process. It passed the state’s House of Representatives with a 74-8 vote in March while it achieved a 24-3 vote at the Senate on May 4.
The House of Representatives agreed with the Senate’s amendments on Thursday through a 58-25 vote. 20 members were either not present or decided not to vote.
Besides the age requirements, the bill also includes language that does not allow specific marketing efforts that tobacco companies and tobacco alternative companies can undertake. Some examples cited were:
- Manufacturers, local retailers, and distributors are not allowed to sponsor, finance, or advertise a scholarship of any kind.
- They are also not allowed to sponsor concerts, sporting events, or public events under certain circumstances.
HB 273 also places limitations on what words manufacturers and retailers are allowed to use when advertising their products. Words like candy, pastry, and pie are not allowed when describing tobacco products. Using names or logos that imitate existing products intended for people under 21 years old is also not allowed. This means that tobacco companies cannot use parodies of soda brands, breakfast cereal, ice cream, and other related items. Characters from television, movies, video games, or comic books cannot be used in tobacco product ads as well.
Taking note of newly signed laws, whether federal or state, is crucial for everyone. No one wants to get in trouble with the law, right? Plus, it shows we’re moving in the right direction towards more healthy lifestyles. We hope you find this one useful. Take care!