Good ideas often start locally. Almost two decades before a statewide clean indoor air law was enacted, Albuquerque implemented smoke-free air policies to protect its residents from secondhand smoke.
A legislative proposal backed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham will once again allow cities and counties to be on the forefront of combating yet another dangerous epidemic that has afflicted our children – e-cigarette use, also known as vaping.
Senate Bill 131 empowers cities and counties to regulate sales of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, in their communities and authorizes local law enforcement agencies to conduct compliance checks against sales of tobacco products to minors. The governor’s proposal will allow local municipalities to establish common-sense guidelines that restrict the sale of e-cigarettes near schools, skateparks, community pools and other areas where children are present. Local governments can also restrict e-cigarette advertisements aimed at our children. This proposal doesn’t allow local municipalities to shut down existing tobacco and e-cigarette stores or ban new tobacco stores.
The e-cigarette epidemic is a public health crisis that has spread to every high and middle school in the state. One in four of N.M. high school students and one in 14 middle school students are reportedly using e-cigarettes that often contain high levels of nicotine, according to the 2017 Youth, Risk and Resiliency Survey by N.M.’s Department of Health.