NM should lead in regulating vaping industry - Albuquerque Journal

NM should lead in regulating vaping industry

Vaping in New Mexico is completely unregulated, and once again our state is the Wild West when it comes to a new industry. We are parents, and strongly believe it is imperative to protect the health of our children, protect the public health of New Mexicans, eliminate bad actors and underground products. We will reintroduce the Vaping Act to promote greater public health through smart regulations and responsible public policies. To date, no other state has enacted a comprehensive e-cigarette regulatory bill, and New Mexico could lead the way.

Recent knee-jerk policy responses to lung illnesses will not lead to a desired outcome. But a comprehensive regulatory framework can, and will. Most people reading recent stories don’t know the full range of facts behind the illnesses reported from e-cigarette usage. That is, that the majority of the illnesses reported due to e-cigarette usage is directly linked to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), or illicit unregulated drug use, in vaping devices. On Oct. 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its findings on e-cigarette illnesses and hospitalizations. The CDC noted that, of the confirmed lung injury cases associated with e-cigarette usage, 78% of patients “reported using THC-containing products, with or without nicotine-containing products.” Thirty-seven percent of the patients also reported “exclusive use of THC-containing products.” And on Nov. 21, the CDC further announced “the latest national and state findings suggest THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products, particularly from informal sources like friends, or family, or in-person or online dealers, are linked to most of the cases and play a major role in the outbreak.”

Prohibition does not work.

One critically important fact is being ignored in the rush to respond to the reported illnesses. Since their introduction to the U.S. market in 2007, vaping devices have helped millions of Americans quit smoking. And a lot of those people, 10 million to 13 million, are using flavored products to help them quit, or limit, cigarette smoking. “In the largest survey of American adult vapers, flavors were vital in helping smokers quit combustible cigarettes and remain abstinent from smoking.” The removal of products that have helped the vast majority of former smokers quit smoking cigarettes will have morbid impacts and only serves to drive those smokers back to combustible products, or cigarettes. This should be the most compelling argument for regulating e-cigarettes, not eliminating them.

Digging a little deeper, the vapor products mentioned above have been FDA-registered and FDA-regulated since 2016. No new legal vapor products have entered the market since 2016. Of the vapor products on the market, some are completely nicotine-free. There are already strict FDA warning label requirements in place for all nicotine-containing e-cigarette products. So, what would the regulatory framework look like?

Since last December, our team has met with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office, the N.M. Department of Health and N.M. Regulation and Licensing Department to discuss the depth of the regulatory framework. Our proposed Regulatory Act would establish a 21 years of age restriction for all purchases, licensing requirements for manufacturers, distributors and retail stores, an enforcement mechanism within the state’s Alcohol and Gaming Division, and strict marketing guidelines that would prohibit youth-targeted marketing.

Finally, during the 2018 legislative session, the Legislature enacted a point-of-sale tax on e-cigarettes. But without a comprehensive regulatory framework that includes licensing, it will be impossible to track sales and know who to tax. The creation of a regulatory framework guarantees more gross receipts dollars for the state of New Mexico.

With the adoption of statewide regulations during the 2020 legislative session, New Mexico can lead the way in creating a comprehensive framework that would legitimize the vapor industry, serve to help combat youth usage, and create a clear avenue for revenue generation.

We encourage the public to comment on our legislation. It will be available on the New Mexico Legislative website once prefiled legislation is published.


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
In this season of compassion, spare a thought for ...
Columnists
During the weeks between Thanksgiving, Hanukkah ... During the weeks between Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas, I always recall warm childhood memori ...
2
Girls prep basketball overview: Volcano Vista is primed to ...
Featured Sports
No amount of coachspeak is going ... No amount of coachspeak is going to allow Lisa Villareal to dodge the inescapable truth that her Volcano Vista Hawks are running the proverbial ...
3
DA’s lawsuit seeks GPS data for defendants on pretrial ...
ABQnews Seeker
District Attorney Raúl Torrez on Thursday ... District Attorney Raúl Torrez on Thursday sued the administrator of the 2nd Judicial District Court in Albuquerque, alleging that court officials are violating the ...
4
Broad coalition urges support for PNM/Avangrid merger
ABQnews Seeker
After PRC meeting, AG Balderas concerned ... After PRC meeting, AG Balderas concerned about commissioners' impartiality
5
Sandia Prep junior sings her way to Carnegie Hall
ABQnews Seeker
Sofia Chalamidas hopes to attend college ... Sofia Chalamidas hopes to attend college at either New York University or Carnegie Mellon, and become a professional singer
6
Why 'But, Judge, it's Christmas!' can't carry any weight
From the newspaper
Every year around this time, I ... Every year around this time, I hear a phrase repeated over and over. I hear it when a party requests ...
7
Editorial: NMSU spreads cheer, lets folks clear tickets in ...
Editorials
It's literally spreading holiday cheer, allowing ... It's literally spreading holiday cheer, allowing folks to clear parking tickets with a donatio ...
8
Editorial: Pastor's endorsement of candidate merits probe
Editorials
Albuquerque megachurch leader Steve Smothermon has ... Albuquerque megachurch leader Steve Smothermon has been no stranger to controversy throughout the pa ...
9
Sora an elusive year-round NM resident
From the newspaper
Winter is an exciting time in ... Winter is an exciting time in New Mexico as we are host to a wide variety of bird species that spend ...