Recent updates! – Tobacco 21 Progress – Statewide Bill Tracker

1/31/2017 – Both HB37 and HB190 are killed in their respective committees
1/3/2017 – Representative Deborah Dixon introduces House Bill 190, which would increase the minimum legal sales age to 21; referred to House Committee on Drug Policy
1/3/2017 – Representative Bryant Clark introduces House Bill 37, which would increase the minimum legal sales age of all tobacco products to 21; referred to House Committee on Corrections.
3/21/2016 – Adams County Passes state’s first Tobacco 21 ordinance!

Mississippi became the 10th state to have a municipality enact a Tobacco 21 ordinance in 2016, as officials in Adams county made history for their state, protecting their kids from the dangers of addiction.

Mississippi has an above average rate of high school smoking, and an above average rate of adult smoking, when compared to national rates. An estimated 68,000 children now under the age of 18 will die prematurely due to smoking, with 1,800 children becoming daily smokers every year.

The result is an annual health care cost of $1.23 billion that is directly caused by smoking, and another $1.80 billion in lost productivity. The state currently spends 31.9% of the CDC recommended amount on tobacco prevention, and has a tax of only $.68, one of the lowest in the country.

State law does not allow for local Tobacco 21 laws, but this does not mean local government can’t play an important role. A good example is Washington State, which is also preempted locally concerning Minimum Legal Sales Age (MLSA) increases. In Washington, city councils and local boards of health passed resolutions in support of the statewide law under consideration by the legislature. Resolutions cost nothing, but clearly help fuel momentum toward better protection for your kids. Please consider calling your local board of health, city council member or county commissioner. Your voice is very important to legislators considering Tobacco 21 laws, all it takes is one or two phone calls or emails to support the movement to raise the age.

For more information, you may contact:

Rob Crane, MD
Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation

Claudia Flores Rodas
Director, Southern Region
Tobacco Free Kids

or visit our sources:

Tobacco Free Kids Mississippi: “The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Our vision: A future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco.”

American Lung Association State Report Card: “The ALA ‘State of Tobacco Control’ report tracks progress on key tobacco control policies at the state and federal levels, and assigns grades based on tobacco control laws and regulations in effect as of January 2, 2014.”

SLATI State Information Mississippi: “SLATI (State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues) is an extensively researched and invaluable source of information on tobacco control laws and policy, and is the only up-to-date and comprehensive summary of state tobacco control laws.”

The Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation and the Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids support these four principles for Tobacco 21 ordinances:

1) Include all tobacco and nicotine products, specifically e-cigarettes. The only exceptions would be FDA recognized nicotine replacement products (gum, patch, etc.) intended for cessation.
2) Include significant enforcement provisions against illegal sales as research shows that consistent enforcement is of critical importance.
3) Not include any pre-emption against local authority in more stringent regulation of tobacco or other nicotine product sales, secondhand smoke, or e-cigarette vapor.
4) Ideally not include possession, usage, or purchase (PUP) penalties that result in criminal records, and instead place the onus on the purveyors of these addictive products.

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