AHA readies for 2023 Legislative Session

The 2023 Legislative Session in New Mexico will kick off on Jan. 17, and the American Heart Association is excited about the year’s priorities coming off a successful 2022 session.


In 2022, AHA worked toward easy enrollment for health care, as well as extending postpartum care for new mothers to 12 months. Additionally, Constitutional Amendment 1, which provides funding for early childhood education, was passed by New Mexicans.

New Mexico has one of the lowest taxes on e-cigarettes and the third highest usage of e-cigarettes among our high school students. Thirty-four percent of New Mexico high school students are using e-cigarettes. Additionally, funding for tobacco prevention and education has been cut in half in the last several years.

There will be bills to increase taxes on cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and other tobacco products, along with increasing funding for tobacco prevention and education. Price increases on tobacco products has proven to be the No. 1 way to prevent youth from taking up smoking and vaping, followed by a comprehensive and aggressive campaign on tobacco prevention and education.

New Mexico still allows indoor smoking in five-state licensed racetrack casinos, also known as racinos, located in Albuquerque, Hobbs, Farmington, Ruidoso, and Sunland Park. These racinos expose hundreds of their employees to secondhand smoke. The health hazards of secondhand smoke are well-documented. Prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke causes lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, stroke, reproductive health problems among pregnant women, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), asthma and other health problems.

All tribal casinos in New Mexico that reopened after the pandemic went smoke-free, but all five state-licensed racinos have reopened their casinos and currently allow smoking. The American Heart Association will be strongly supporting the legislation to repeal the casino exemption in the Dee Johnson Clean Indoor Act.

We’re also working on expanding healthy school meals for all in New Mexico schools. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham recently announced this as one of her priorities.

We will keep you posted as bills move through the legislative process.

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