CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Three bills regarding the sale of nicotine were sent to the Joint Revenue Committee on the morning of Tuesday, Feb. 11.
SF 42 would require an age verification for anyone purchasing tobacco products online, using a third-party system to cross-reference the information provided by the consumer with public records, confirming their birth date. The person would have to be at least 21 years old to purchase any tobacco or nicotine products. A seller would be allowed to create protections for purchasers to bypass regular confirmations of their age, such as creating an online profile with verifiable information or allowing the purchaser to upload a copy of their identification and a current photograph.
The bill would also specify shipping requirements for tobacco products and would amend definitions for “electronic cigarettes” and “vapor material.” E-cigarettes would be considered “any device that can be used to deliver aerosolized or vaporized nicotine material to the person using the device and includes any component, part and accessory of the device and and vapor material intended to be aerosolized or vaporized during the use of device.” These would include e-cigars, e-cigarillos, electronic pipes, electronic hookahs or similar devices. Vapor material would be considered “any liquid solution or other material containing nicotine that is depleted as an electronic cigarette is used.”
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SF 52 is similar to SF 42, but instead of only allowing online tobacco sales to people 21 or over, this is a hard prohibition, completely outlawing the sale of tobacco or nicotine products online for shipping no matter the purchaser’s age.
SF 50 would follow federal law and increase the state’s smoking age to 21. While tobacco retailers aren’t legally allowed to sell tobacco products to anyone under 21, even in Wyoming, state law enforcement isn’t legally allowed to enforce federal law. This means that anyone between the ages of 18-20 caught with tobacco won’t be penalized under current state law.
Vaping has been a major issue in Natrona County, according to a recent Natrona County School District work session. Natrona County High School Principal Shannon Harris noted that staff is dealing with teens vaping daily at the local high schools. Some of the students caught vaping are also using THC, the main ingredient in marijuana. In 2018-19, 354 disciplinary incidents regarding tobacco were recorded in the school district.
Sen. Cale Case told the other 28 senators that the Revenue Committee introduced the two bills covering the sale of nicotine online due to the vaping crisis overtaking the United States.
“Vaping products are purchased online by youngsters to be consumed,” Case said. “So we wanted to provide options, whether it’s a hard prohibition or finding a way to have age verification online.”
If passed, all three of these bills would go into effect on July 1, 2020.