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Legislative Update

Budget bill aims to curb teen smoking, vaping and use of tobacco and nicotine products

by | Mar 8, 2021 | Legislative Update Blog, State Budget, State Issue | 0 comments

The budget bill proposed by Gov. Evers contains a number of provisions that are aimed at reducing teen use of tobacco and vaping products and that school leaders should be aware of.

This post looks at a few of the key provisions in this area.

Minimum Age of 21 to Purchase: The proposed budget bill would raise the minimum age for purchasing cigarettes, tobacco products, or nicotine products from 18 to 21, and would impose a minimum age of 21 for purchasing vapor products.

  • Nicotine products are products that contain nicotine and that are not tobacco products, cigarettes, or products that have been approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration for sale as a smoking cessation product.
  • Tobacco products include products such as cigars, chewing tobacco, and smoking tobacco.
  • Vapor products are noncombustible products that produce a vapor or aerosol for inhalation from the application of a heating element, regardless of whether the liquid or other substance contains nicotine.

Banning Vaping on School Premises: The bill would also prohibit individuals from vaping on school premises.

  • Under the proposed budget bill, “school premises” would be defined as any real property owned by, rented by, or under the control of a school board, operator or governing board of an independent charter school, or governing body of a private school. “School premises” would include outdoor spaces such as playgrounds and athletic fields.
  • The budget bill would define vaping as inhaling or exhaling vapor from a vapor product, regardless of whether the liquid or other substance being heated to produce the vapor contains nicotine. Under current law, a school board, operator or governing board of an independent charter school, and governing body of a private school may prohibit vaping on school premises under its respective control.

WASB resolution 6.02, Tobacco-free, Nicotine-free and Vaping-free Schools, states:

“The WASB supports school learning environments free of tobacco, nicotine and vaping products and devices.”

Other Noteworthy Provisions: The proposed budget bill would require a person who sells vapor products to obtain an annual cigarette and tobacco products retailer license from the clerk of the city, village, or town in which the retailer is located.

The proposed budget bill would also allow the state Department of Health (DHS) to develop and carry out a public health campaign aimed at preventing young people from initiating tobacco and vapor product use. As part of that effort, the budget bill would authorize DHS to distribute grants to local and regional organizations working on youth vaping and providing cessation services.


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