[GUEST OPINION] Arizona needs stronger tobacco regulation, reject HB2682

(Disclosure: Rose Law Group represents Tobacco-Free Kids.)

Via Arizona Capitol Times

As representatives of leading public health organizations, it is our responsibility to speak up when a bill that purports to protect public health does the exact opposite.

That is the story behind HB2682 in Arizona.

Most concerning is the real purpose of this bill – it would prevent cities and towns across Arizona from protecting our kids, because the bill precludes cities and towns from enacting their own regulations on the sale and marketing of dangerous and addictive tobacco products. This would eliminate a vital layer of protection for our children. The bill would also prevent the statewide smoke-free law from applying to the use of electronic cigarettes in shared indoor public places, allowing the tobacco industry to expose Arizonans once again to dangerous secondhand smoke.

Proponents of HB2682 claim that the bill will advance public health by requiring tobacco retailers to obtain a license. Even on that front, the bill just creates a weak tobacco retail license requirement with soft penalties for violators – well below the level recommended by the state Attorney General.

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