DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH NEWS
Protecting youth from the sale of all tobacco products
The New Mexico Department of Health gathered virtually on Thursday with select partners to celebrate the implementation of the Tobacco Products Act. The Act, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2021, increases the minimum legal sales age for all tobacco products in New Mexico to 21 years. The act also creates new licensing requirements for tobacco retailers.
To celebrate, Lieutenant Governor Howie Morales, state legislators, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division and Evolvement high school youth advocates gathered to mark this significant public health victory.
Prior to the Tobacco Products Act, New Mexico was one of only twelve states without statewide tobacco retail licensing requirements, despite clear evidence that such policies are effective in reducing the illegal sale of tobacco products to minors. According to the New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey, 1 in 3 New Mexico high school students reported current e-cigarette use in 2019.
“The need for tobacco preventive policy has been exacerbated by the e-cigarette epidemic among youth,” said Alcoholic Beverage Control Division Director Andrew Vallejos. “We’re hopeful this new law will reverse that trend, keeping our young people away from tobacco products.”
The Act requires all distributors, manufacturers and sellers to be licensed to sell tobacco products with the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division of the Regulation and Licensing Department.
In conjunction with the New Mexico Department of Health, the No Minor Sale campaign was created in 2017 to educate New Mexicans about illegal tobacco sales and the need for tobacco retail licensing.
Thanks to the work of hundreds of New Mexico Evolvement high school youth advocates, the campaign has been a resounding success. Student advocates have held community events to educate youth about the dangers of tobacco usage. “The Tobacco Products Act means a safer future for my generation and my state,” said youth advocate and Los Lunas High School senior Aracely Flores-Ramirez. “I believe our purpose as humans is to make the world better for those who will come after us. If we don’t have to worry so much about treating tobacco-related health issues, then we are free to use that time and energy to invent better technology, create more art, and live better lives. The Tobacco Products Act will create a better standard of living for New Mexicans.”
To learn more about the No Minor Sale campaign and its endorsement of the Tobacco Products Act, please visit www.nominorsale.com.