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New oversight of vaping, tobacco

SANTA FE – State authorities are increasing oversight of tobacco and e-cigarette businesses to prevent child access with the start of the new year by requiring licenses for the sale, distribution or manufacture of all tobacco products under a law signed in the spring of 2020.

Those changes are on top of New Mexico increasing the minimum age limit to 21 for the purchase of all tobacco products including vaping products that went into effect July 1.

Repeated infractions can lead to fines of up to $10,000 and license revocation.

Also as of Jan. 1, a new consumer protection law takes effect related to the student debt crisis. The law requires a long list of financial disclosures by private nonprofit and for-profit universities about the full costs of tuition, room and board and average earnings by graduates 10 years after earning a degree.

The legislation, co-sponsored by Democratic state Rep. Christine Chandler of Los Alamos and Democratic Sen. Liz Stefanics of Santa Fe, also require disclosures about the financial obligations for students who cancel their studies before graduation.

A 2019 study by the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty and partner organizations found that New Mexico had the second highest student loan default rate in the U.S. with more than 1 in 5 student loan borrowers listed as severely delinquent on debts.