Although AB 348 passed the Wisconsin Assembly in recent weeks, it did not get through the state senate before they adjourned.
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As you know, in December 2019, the US Congress took action to raise the minimum age of sale for tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to 21. However, our work on this issue in Wisconsin is still not done.
In Wisconsin, local law enforcement officials have the authority to enforce local ordinance and state law; they do not have the authority to enforce this federal law. To give them that authority, we must change state law to mirror federal law. Wisconsin Assembly Bill 348 would have done just that.
While cigarette smoking rates have decreased in recent years, the number of youth using new forms of tobacco, such as e-cigarettes, has skyrocketed putting decades of progress at risk. We know that nearly 90% of adult smokers start before age 21, and most 15 to 17-year-olds get their tobacco from friends who have turned 18. This critical step to raise the sales age to 21 will go a long way to helping stop these products from finding their way into the hands of our kids.
While we're disappointed Wisconsin's Tobacco 21 bill did not pass, we're thankful for the incredible outreach to lawmakers from our amazing You're the Cure advocates on this issue.
Stay tuned as we continue to work--with your help--to create a tobacco and nicotine-free future for Wisconsin's youth.
Thank you for being a voice for a healthier future!
Nicole Hudzinski and Melissa Brown
Your Wisconsin AHA Advocacy Team