Archives     Advertise     Editorial Calendar     Subscribe     Contact Us    

Reeves/Smith Bill to Prevent Next Generation of Nicotine Addiction Garners Broad Industry Support

Sen. Bill Frist, MD

In late January, a group of more than 25 organizations from across Tennessee announced their support for legislation that seeks to prevent the next generation of nicotine addicts in the state.

The bill (SB2079/HB2114), sponsored by State Senator Shane Reeves and State Representative Robin Smith, intends to:

  • Bring state law into compliance with federal law setting the purchase age for tobacco and cigarettes at 21;
  • Strengthen enforcement of the purchase age law by creating a license for retailers to sell tobacco products;
  • Move fines for non-compliance from the consumer to the retailer; and
  • Tax vape cartridges at $0.62, the same rate as a pack of cigarettes.

"I am pleased that our federal Congressional leadership has made the critically-important move to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco and e-cigarette products from 18 to 21," said NashvilleHealth Founder and Board Chair Sen. Bill Frist, MD. "Now, I encourage our state's leaders to take the necessary steps to smartly implement this federal law and protect Tennessee's youth."

According to a 2019 statewide poll, nearly 80 percent of Tennessee voters said they are concerned about vaping and the use of e-cigarettes among young people in the state. More than 60 percent of Tennesseans support increasing the minimum age for tobacco sales from 18 to 21, and 86 percent believe vaping products and e-cigarettes should be included.

Sen. Shane Reeves

"Tennessee is currently ranked 43rd in life expectancy with a very high presence of heart disease, COPD, cancer and stroke compared to other states," said Sen. Shane Reeves, PharmD (R-14). "Increasing the purchase age to 21 will have a dramatic impact on those disease states over the next couple of decades."

Nicotine addiction directly impacts state spending as TennCare reports expenditures of nearly $150 million in 2018 for members' tobacco-related illness. This cost represents $147 million for members 21 years and older and $1.7 million for members under age 21.

Rep. Robin Smith

A former critical care and transplant nurse, Rep. Robin Smith (R-26) said, "The very concentrated forms of nicotine available via electronic cigarettes are quickly ensnaring teens and young adults. This bill works to establish an enforcement mechanism of the federal law that protects against addictions."

Nearly 95 percent of adults who smoke began before the age of 21. In Tennessee, teen use of e-cigarettes has doubled in the past two years, and more than 20 percent of high school students report smoking cigarettes or cigars or using smokeless tobacco or electronic vapor products in the last 30 days.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nicotine, the addictive substance in tobacco, e-cigarette and vape products, can harm adolescent brain development, specifically the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control. Using nicotine in adolescence may also increase risk for future addiction to other drugs.

Currently in Tennessee, e-cigarette and vape products are not taxed, while traditional tobacco products are - cigarettes at 62 cents per pack of 20 cigarettes and all other tobacco products at 6.6% of the wholesale price. Tennessee ranks 43rd lowest in the nation for its 62 cents per pack tax. Twenty-one other states currently tax e-cigarette and vape products.

Organizations Supporting the Reeves Smith Legislation:

  • American Heart Association
  • Amerigroup
  • BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee
  • Boys & Girls Clubs Tennessee Alliance
  • Children's Hospital Alliance of Tennessee
  • Cigna
  • Coalition for Better Health
  • Delta Dental
  • March of Dimes
  • Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee
  • Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
  • NashvilleHealth
  • Saint Thomas Health
  • State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE)
  • Tennessee Academy of Family Physicians
  • Tennessee Afterschool Network
  • Tennessee Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Tennessee Charitable Care Network
  • Tennessee Dental Association
  • Tennessee Hospital Association
  • Tennessee Medical Association
  • Tennessee Pharmacists Association
  • Tennessee Primary Care Association
  • Tennessee's Public and Teaching Hospitals
  • Tennessee Oncology Practice Society
  • Tennessee Section of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • Tobacco-Free Chattanooga
  • United Ways of Tennessee
  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center


Related Articles:

Recent Articles

THA, TMA, TNA Outline Legislative Priorities

With the Tennessee General Assembly back in full swing, the state's major healthcare associations outline 2020 priorities.

Read More

Cardiac Innovation in Nashville

From transplants to trials, Nashville hospitals are leading the way in cardiac care.

Read More

A Modern Love Story: Where Technology, Healthcare & Construction Go Hand-in-Hand

Technology has changed every aspect of our lives. In fact, I had a healthy laugh a few weeks ago when I showed my children an old rotary phone and, get this, they did not know what it was.

Read More

Reeves/Smith Bill to Prevent Next Generation of Nicotine Addiction Garners Broad Industry Support

In late January, a group of more than 25 organizations from across Tennessee announced their support for legislation that seeks to prevent the next generation of nicotine addicts in the state.

Read More

Physician Spotlight: A Heart for Healing

TriStar Summit cardiologist Kristen Kerr is passionate about education, improving outcomes in women's heart health.

Read More

Heart Monitor

Read More

Ifetroban for Treating DMD-Associated Cardiomyopathy

Following successful preclinical trials and FDA funding, Cumberland Pharmaceuticals is preparing to launch a new Phase II trial of ifetroban to treat cardiomyopathy in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy patients.

Read More

Endocrine Society Celebrates Progress from Bench to Bedside

Endocrine Society Chief Professional & Clinical Affairs Officer Robert Lash, MD, discusses the field, annual meeting, road shows and more.

Read More

NMGMA: 10 Minute Takeaway

During the January NMGMA meeting, representatives from Fox Fuel and Lovell Communications shared insights on effective communications.

Read More

Bringing Eye Health into Focus in 2020

A recent survey reveals most Americans have key gaps in knowledge of eye health.

Read More

Email Print



Powered by Bondware
News Publishing Software

The browser you are using is outdated!

You may not be getting all you can out of your browsing experience
and may be open to security risks!

Consider upgrading to the latest version of your browser or choose on below: