License to Protect Resources

The American Heart Association supports efforts to strengthen Alabama's Tobacco Retail Licensure. This would enable communities to track and set limits on where tobacco products are sold and ensure retailers are following tobacco laws.


Although it's illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under 21, Alabama has limited capacity to enforce the law. In fact, 75% of kids who try to buy cigarettes and other tobacco products, like e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and snuff, are not refused sale despite being under the legal sales age. AL License to Protect TRL.pngAs such, we will urge state lawmakers to support a comprehensive tobacco retail licensure policy as a central way to effectively enforce tobacco laws and prevent youth access to harmful tobacco products. 

We recommend that in order to be effective, the following elements must be included in tobacco retail licensures:

  • An annual license fee that is high enough to cover the cost of enforcement and compliance.
  • Clear process to establish requirements to apply for a license.
  • Minimum of one compliance check per store per year, with a mandatory recheck for compliance failures.
  • Escalating monetary compliance check failure penalties paid by the retailer, with a license suspension of at least 15 days by the third offense, and license revocation by the fourth offense within at least a two-year period.
  • No criminal or monetary penalties for youth use and possession.
  • Penalty for selling tobacco products with out a license.

Unfortunately, during the 2023 Alabama Legislative Session, state lawmakers are considering House Bill 319 and its companion bill, Senate Bill 271, known as the "vape bill", which are disguised as a policy to help Alabama's youth, but in its current form would harm children and give a pass to those selling tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to minors. The legislation:

  • contains provisions that would penalize Alabama youth for nicotine addiction with fines, school suspensions, and community service hours 
  • requires no annual retail compliance check
  • allows for tobacco and e-cigarettes to be sold in vending machines
  • repeals the distance requirements of tobacco retailers being located or marketing within 1,000 feet of a church, school, daycare, or youth

On May 16, the American Heart Association and 23 other organizations sent a letter to lawmakers opposing House Bill 319 and Senate Bill 271. 

We invite you to advocate with us - your voice is needed! 

  1. If you haven't yet, pledge to advocate with us on this issue. Click here or text PROTECTAL to 46839. Be sure to opt into email and text updates, so we can keep you informed of this effort and share timely ways for your voice to be heard. 
  2. Share your story with us. Let us know how youth access to tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, has impacted you or your loved ones.
  3. Invite family and friends to take the pledge, too! We have a postcard you can hand out, and sample social media posts you can use. Scroll down! 

Together, we can speak up to protect Alabama kids from tobacco and nicotine addiction.




Updated 5/18/23

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