Young people under the age of 18 would no longer be permitted to buy electronic cigarettes under legislation that’s in its final stage at the General Assembly. The bill targets the delivery devices—regardless of their shape or size—and the related vapor products that contain nicotine..
The Centers for Disease Control reports that the number of middle and high school students using e-cigarettes more than doubled between 2011 and 2012. It’s thought that adding such flavors as cherry or cookies and cream milkshake heightens the appeal of the addictive nicotine to children. Bill sponsor Senator Bryce Reeves says lawmakers learned a lesson from other seemingly innocuous products.
“The industry itself—vapor products—has kind of gotten ahead of the legislation, as we’ve seen with a lot of our bath salts, issues we had with the synthetic marijuana that had kind of popped up into stores. And so, this is an effort to get in front of what will be probably a billion-dollar industry. So my bill specifically just says that we’re not going to sell these things to kids, so you’ve got to be an adult, 18 and older.”
Retailers who sell to minors face a $100 civil penalty for a first violation, $200 for a second offense, and $500 thereafter. Minors face a $100 civil penalty for a first offense and $250 after that— or they may be ordered to perform 20 to 40 hours of community service.