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Youth Tobacco Prevention

Legislative Engagement

RAI Services Company’s public affairs department advocates for legislation that strengthens youth tobacco prevention laws across the United States. We believe that all states should have comprehensive laws covering youth tobacco prevention. For more on our engagement strategy, visit Stakeholder Engagement and Materiality.

Two key laws impacting youth tobacco access were passed in 2016. In January, the U.S. Congress passed the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act. The Act requires special packaging for liquid nicotine container that conform to child-resistant packaging standards. RAI Services Company actively supported this legislation and welcome its impact in the decline of nicotine exposure reported by the AAPCC. In August 2016, the federal Age of Purchase law was amended to include a national minimum purchase age of 18 for all vapor products. We welcome this change and continue to support age restrictions for not only purchase but also possession and use of all tobacco products.

Our current legislative priorities include:

  • No purchase, possession or use of tobacco by youth: In addition to our education efforts through RDRN, RAI supports legislative and regulatory efforts to keep tobacco products out of the hands of youth. All states prohibit the sale of tobacco products to persons under at least age 18. RAI also supports laws that also criminalize possession and use of tobacco products by minors;
  • Penalties for complicit adults: According to the CDC, minors may obtain tobacco products from social sources such as complicit adults, rather than retail outlets, 86 percent of the time. Many states have laws penalizing complicit adults, but they can and should go further. RAI advocates for legislation on par with, or more stringent than, states’ Social Host laws for furnishing alcohol to minors;
  • No tobacco possession on school grounds: RAI and its operating companies support the complete ban on the use and possession of tobacco and vapor products on school grounds, including by adults. We support legislation to keep tobacco products out of schools, such as the language adopted by Arizona, in which “tobacco products are prohibited on school grounds, inside school buildings, in school parking lots or playing fields, in school buses or vehicles, or at off-campus school sponsored events.”