Arizona lawmakers wanted to show their federal peers they, too, are prepared to “to get tough” with the vaping industry.
State Sen.-elect Heather Carter announced Tuesday, Jan. 8, she co-authored Senate Bill 1009, which was designed to reclassify vaping products identically to tobacco products. When announcing the bill, the Republican was flanked by school and health officials, azcentral.com reported.
Senate Bill 1009 also would provide Arizona with a law similar to federal legislation, which groups e-cigarettes and combustible cigarettes as tobacco products.
A bipartisan bill, SB 1009 would create the same penalty structure for retailers who sell e-cigarettes to individuals younger than 18 years old as they would for selling tobacco products to minors. State Sens. Sean Bowie, a Democrat, and Kate Brophy, a Republican, co-sponsored the bill.
Not everyone is convinced the bill is the right issue to tackle at the start of the Arizona 54th Legislature.
Speaking for many, Arizona Smoke Free Business Alliance Executive Director Steve Johnson said SB 1009 would enhance a stereotype that vaping has as many health risks as smoking traditional cigarettes. Several recent studies concluded traditional cigarettes are far more dangerous.
“We are opposed to classifying (vaping) products as tobacco,” Johnson told azcentral.com. ” There’s a lot of good data that specifically shows these products are up to 95 percent less harmful than tobacco.”
Carter said she was determined to use her platform to fight the “crisis” of teen vaping.
“The use of vapor products in our schools is rampant,” Carter said. “Unfortunately these products are easily accessible and we see vape shops popping up throughout the entire Valley. Due to slick hyper-marketing campaigns, most students think that these products pose no risk.”
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