An Iowa Senate committee has voted to forbid minors from buying, smoking or possessing electronic cigarettes. Senator Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat from Iowa City, says the ban would apply whether or not the e-cigarette contains nicotine.
“So we don’t have to get into a conversation about: Does it have nicotine in it or does it have fruit flavors in it? It simply bans the use of these simulated smoking devices, also known as e-cigarettes, for minors,” Bolkcom says.
Bolkcom argues the industry is trying to hook a whole new generation of smokers with those fruit-flavored e-cigarettes.
“Young people are rapidly adopting e-cigarettes,” Bolkcom says.
Senator Bill Dotzler, a Democrat from Waterloo, says legislators agree minors shouldn’t have access to e-cigarettes.
“You know there are studies out there that show that these could be very dangerous and I think our committee’s in agreement that we want to make sure that children are protected,” Dotzler says, “and not preyed upon in any way.”
The bill that cleared the Senate Human Resources Committee late Wednesday afternoon not only bans e-cigarette sales to minors, it forbids retailers from giving out samples or selling e-cigarettes in vending machines. The Iowa House passed a bill that would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, but it also would allow e-cigarettes to escape the significant state taxes charged on tobacco products. The bill that cleared the senate committee would not give that tax shield to e-cigarettes. The next stop for the bill is full senate debate.