SB 1147 which is backed by the parent company of Philip Morris USA, would raise the legal age for purchasing tobacco and vaping products to 21 and establish fines for violating the law. However some lawmakers and health advocates are arguing against this bill, as it would rightly sidestep efforts to define e-cigarettes as tobacco.
SB 1147 would raise the legal age for purchasing tobacco and vaping products to 21 and establish fines for violating the law.
“Why would anybody accept a solution to the health crisis we are facing from the very industry that caused the crisis?” said Sen. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, who pushed separate legislation to restrict tobacco and e-cigarette usage. “They did this with cigarettes and now they think they can do this with e-cigarettes.”
Meanwhile, the Senate passed HB 2357. A bill which was sponsored by Sen. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, and classifies vaping products in the same category as tobacco. This means that the devices would not only be subject to the same rules and regulations with regards to the sales of the products, but also with regards to where they can be used.
The bill would also allow towns and cities the rights to impose their own regulations. Therefore, while it does not explicitly raise the legal vaping age, it would still allow communities to adopt and keep their own ordinances and raise the legal age to 21 if they so wish.
Stakeholders are being consulted
With regards to SB 1147, Rep. John Allen said that it is being amended in collaboration with stakeholders, including retailers and tobacco companies, before being put forward for another round of votes. “Tobacco (representation) is certainly at the table, but it’s mostly the ma and pa stores that want to see this change,” Allen said. “They don’t want to be at the whims of a city council that decides to raise the age to 65 and charge $900 for a permit to sell tobacco.”
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