GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (March 6, 2014) – As e-cigarettes continue to gain popularity in West Michigan, lawmakers are trying to make sure they’re only being sold to adults.
Senator Rick Jones, (R) Grand Ledge, has sponsored a bill to make sure those sales don’t happen.
There is currently no law that prevents a child from buying an e-cigarette. The laws that are written only apply to tobacco products and since e-cigarettes contain no tobacco, there is no law regulating them.
Sen. Jones said he has no problem with the alternative to smoking; his problem is with the age group in which the product continues to grow in popularity.
“I was reading to a fourth grade class,” said Sen. Jones. “One of the kids told me he bought an electronic cigarette and he and his friends play with it.”
The senator sponsored a bill that would make it illegal for a retailer to sell e-cigarettes with nicotine to minors. The bill passed the senate unanimously on Thursday.
“They get the same penalty as if they sold a cigarette,” said Sen. Jones.
Jones said this is legislation that reputable retailers are already behind.
Evan Brogan works at Joost, a store that sells e-cigarettes and nothing else.
“I can see why they are concerned in passing legislation to monitor that,” he said.
The senator is also concerned with the way the product is marketed.
“They come in flavors like root beer, orange and cheesecake,” he said. “They are attractive to kids. Kids think this looks cool.”
Because e-cigarettes don’t contain the toxins found in a tobacco cigarette, some use them as a method to kick the habit of smoking. Vaping can be done without nicotine at all.
If the bill passes the house and is then signed into law, e-cigarettes that do not contain nicotine can still be sold to anyone without restrictions.