While the federal minimum age to purchase tobacco products is slated to go to 21-years-old in 2020, a group of New Mexico legislators is pushing for their own increase as well.
After a bill unanimously passed the Senate but failed to gain traction in the House during the regular legislative session, four lawmakers have introduced a new bill, H.B. 66, that they will be pushing through during the legislature’s upcoming second session, which begins on Jan. 21.
The bill is sponsored by Reps. Joanne J. Ferrary, D-Las Cruces; and Elizabeth Thomson, D-Albuquerque; Linda M. Lopez, D-Albuquerque; Christine Trujillo, D-Albuquerque; and Natalie Figueroa, D-Albuquerque. It would include a grandfather clause that exempts those persons who turned 18 before by July 1, 2020 from the increase, at least until the federal legislation goes into effect. The proposal has garnered the support of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
Persons who are under the minimum age to purchase tobacco products and attempt to do so would be subject to a fine of $100 or up to 48 hours of community service, while a person selling to an underage customer would be subject to criminal misdemeanor and a fine of up to $1,000.
Additionally, Reps. Ferrary and Thomson have pre-filed another bill, H.B. 54, that would ban the sale of flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes and vaping products. That bill carries the same fines as the ones for the proposed increase to the purchasing age.
If passed, the changes would go into effect on May 20.