Mar 16, 2020 8:28pm

Tobacco Retail Licensing and Statewide Tobacco 21 Signed Into Law by Governor Grisham

On March 4th, the Tobacco Products Act, sponsored by State Senators Linda Lopez and Gabriel Ramos and State Representatives Joanne Ferrary and Liz Thomson, was signed into law by New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. The new law goes into effect January 1, 2021. 

The law requires tobacco distributors, manufacturers and retailers to acquire and possess a license for distributing, manufacturing or selling tobacco products. Tobacco distributors, manufacturers, and retailers will be required to acquire a license for each location for an initial nonrefundable fee with an annual license renewal fee for a smaller amount. The Tobacco Products Act defines tobacco products as a product made or derived from tobacco or nicotine that is intended for human consumption which includes cigars, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco, snuff, e-cigarettes or electronic nicotine delivery systems. 

The department of public safety will oversee all enforcement activities, including random, unannounced inspections of facilities where tobacco products are sold, manufactured or distributed. The Alcoholic Beverage Control division will have authority over the issuance, denial, suspension, revocation and other administrative penalties. Unless a tobacco distributor, manufacturer or retailer lawfully manufactured, distributed or sold at a location prior to July 1, 2020, a license shall not be granted if the location for the license or license transfer is within three hundred feet of a school. For further information about the Tobacco Products Act, press this link

Prior to the Tobacco Products Act, New Mexico was one of only 12 states that had yet to pass statewide Tobacco Retail Licensing. In addition, with the new law, New Mexico joins numerous other states that have passed a statewide Tobacco 21 policy. With the infrastructure that statewide tobacco retail licensing creates, enforcement of Tobacco 21 policy in New Mexico will be much better suited for success. The overarching need for tobacco preventive policy has been exacerbated by the e-cigarette epidemic among youth and tobacco product use remaining the leading cause of preventable death in New Mexico.4 In addition, 1 in 6 New Mexico tobacco retail stores sell tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, illegally to minors5

The No Minor Sale Campaign began in Fall 2017 and has educated community members about and advocated for ending the illegal sale of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. The campaign has collected over 6,500 handwritten personal messages of support ending the illegal sale of tobacco products to New Mexico youth and/or for statewide tobacco retail licensing from residents of 177 different New Mexico localities and 31 of 33 New Mexico counties. With 63 total No Minor Sale Community Events and 23 total No Minor Sale Presentations that took place in 30 New Mexico cities/towns/pueblos along with 28 community partners from numerous New Mexico organizations and stores, the campaign has educated and gathered support from thousands of New Mexicans. In addition, the campaign has had numerous Evolvement youth advocates speak to state legislators about the importance of statewide tobacco retail licensing and the impact the No Minor Sale Campaign has had in New Mexico. 

Although the No Minor Sale Campaign has done a great deal to accomplish its goal of advocating for statewide tobacco retail licensing, which has now been signed into law, the campaign will continue educating New Mexicans about the importance of stopping the illegal sale of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes to New Mexico youth. As such, much work remains to be done. If an organization you are affiliated with is interested in joining the movement to protect our youth from the harmful effects of tobacco and nicotine products, please contact

  1. Forster, J et al., “The Effects of Community Policies to Reduce Youth Access to Tobacco,” American Journal of Public Health 88:1193-1198, 1998

  2. License to Kill?: Tobacco Retailer Licensing as an Effective Enforcement Tool Ian McLaughlin, Tobacco Legal Consortium,

  3. Jason LA, Ji PY, Anes MD, Birkhead SH. Active enforcement of cigarette control laws in the prevention of cigarette sales to minors. JAMA 1991; 266:3159-3161

  4. American Lung Association. State of Tobacco Control 2017. http:://

  5. Synar, Office of Substance Abuse Prevention, New Mexico Health Services Division

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