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Gov signs Seaton's bill (HB224) to keep kids safe from new nicotine products

Friday, May 25, 2012, Homer, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell yesterday signed a bill authored by Rep. Paul Seaton adding new nicotine delivery products like candy-style mints, nicotine-laced hand wipes, toothpicks, and breath strips to the banned sale of tobacco products to minors.  Both the House and the Senate unanimously passed Rep. Seaton’s HB 224 during the regular session.

“Continuing to focus on prevention is essential as we promote health and wellness statewide,” Seaton, R-Homer, said. “This law will prevent any unscrupulous corporation from using new, unregulated products to produce youth nicotine addiction with later conversion to tobacco sales.”

HB 224 made it a violation for anyone to give or sell a product containing nicotine to a minor. A violation would carry a minimum fine of $300.

"We realized, during a legislative hearing last year on dissolvable tobacco products, that there are more and more new items that deliver nicotine, not just the traditional cigar, cigarette and smokeless tobacco.  We have these protections on traditional tobacco products and cannot leave these new products to lead to more of our kids becoming addicted," Seaton said.

Seaton said the bill doesn't cover tobacco cessation products like nicotine gum or patches that are provided by a healthcare professional or given by a parent or guardian. State-authorized cessation programs are also exempted.

HB 224 will take effect August 22, 2012.

A copy is available at http://www.legis.state.ak.us/PDF/27/Bills/HB0224Z.PDF.

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