Updated 5.21.13

A bill aimed to kick the habit of electronic cigarette sales to minors passed the General Assembly today.

The legislation, sponsored by Senator John Mulroe, makes the sale of electronic cigarettes to persons less than 18 years of age illegal. While the sale of all other nicotine products to minors is already illegal, electronic cigarettes are a relatively new product and state legislation has not yet caught up with the market.

Mulroe’s goal in sponsoring this legislation is to prevent the sale of all nicotine-based products to minors. The penalties for selling electronic cigarettes to minors would mimic the penalties for other tobacco sales to minors.

“Nicotine has been proven to be a harmful and addictive substance,” Sen. Mulroe said. “We ban children from purchasing it in all of its other forms. This legislation just helps us keep up with new advancements in the ways it is being sold.”

Electronic cigarettes have been touted to adults for minimizing the health risks associated with tobacco smoke. While e-cigarettes may give nicotine addicts more or less the same amount of nicotine as a conventional cigarette, they do not produce the same toxic smoke that can cause lung disease and cancer when inhaled over time.

However, while inhaling nicotine vapor removes the carcinogenic component of smoking, it does not remove all of the harmful health effects of nicotine. Nicotine is a potential immunosuppressive and can affect fetal brain development. Further, nicotine can permanently alter growth and function of the nervous system, independent of age, with consequences potentially including depression or anxiety. Most worrisome, the long term effects of the various other chemicals involved in electronic cigarettes have not yet been determined.

The bill passed the House last month without opposition and garnered unopposed passage in the Senate today. It will now be sent to the governor to be signed into law.

Category: News Releases

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