The current Mississippi tobacco law prohibits the use and sales of e-cigarettes and other alternative nicotine products, to anyone under 18. If Gov. Tate Reeves, who is expected to review SB 2596 in the coming days signs the measure, the age limit will increase to 21. This would conform Mississippi law with the new federal law pertaining to the purchase of tobacco and vaping products.
Anyone caught selling e-cigs to minors will have to pay $250 for a first offense, going up to $1,000 for a third and subsequent offense.
If the bill is signed, there will be an increase in penalties for sellers who are caught selling, as for minors caught possessing and/or using e-cigarettes. Anyone caught selling or providing the products, will have to pay $250 for a first offense, going up to $1,000 for a third and subsequent offense. The penalties triple if the vaping devices/products are found containing any controlled substance prohibited by law.
For a person under 21 found by a court in possession of a tobacco or alternative nicotine products, the penalty will be a $100 fine and a maximum 15 hours of community service for a first offense. For a second offense, the fine goes up to $300 fine and the community service hours up to 25 hours, while for a third and subsequent offense, one would face a $500 fine and up to 40 hours of community service.
In addition to fines and penalties, a business caught selling tobacco and vaping products to minors, could face suspension up to revocation of permits based on the number of violations in a 12 month period.
Are age limits effective?
Meanwhile, many public health experts such as State Government Relations Manager from the Heartland Institute Lindsey Stroud, have been pointing out that the illegality of other substances does not stop youngsters from consuming them. On the contrary, it just pushes them to obtain these substances illegally, at times from the black market where they are unregulated and possibly unsafe. “The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported in its Monitoring the Future Study: Trends in Prevalence of Various Drugs 58% of 12th graders reported consuming alcohol in 2015.”
Read Further: Clarion Ledger