(KCPW News) A proposal to clamp down on electronic cigarettes won unanimous support in a legislative committee this morning. Representative Ronda Rudd Menlove’s bill makes it illegal for someone under 19 to purchase an e-cigarette, and adds them to state code that governs the use of tobacco products. E-cigarettes simulate the feel of smoking a cigarette, but still contain nicotine.
“As we looked at this and as we looked at maybe restricting this in a building I was working with, we found that we had no ability to do so,” she said. “Then as we further looked into it, we realized that there were no restrictions on the sale of electronic or e-cigarettes in the state.
Robert Fair, a representative for White Cloud Electronic Cigarettes, attended the meeting in support of the bill. He testified that his company already avoids selling their products to minors, and characterized e-cigarettes as a safe alternative to smoking.
But then, Representative Paul Ray introduced a bill that would ban the sale of certain nicotine products, which includes electronic cigarettes in its current draft. Fair says he was surprised they would be included in the legislation.
“The product’s been out since 2004, and to date, there has been no issues and no reports from any physicians that there’s any problems with these,” he told KCPW. ” So I feel pretty strongly that they’ll never find anything wrong with them. The fact of the matter is there’s a lot of people, especially in this state, are not really educated with the electronic cigarette.”
Ray’s bill will be re-considered at a later meeting. He may revise it to take out the ban on e-cigarettes.