Known as the Quaker State, Pennsylvania could soon engage in enforcing tougher penalties for teenagers busted for vaping.
State government officials are analyzing a bill which would ticket minors who get caught for attempting to purchase e-cigarettes or possess any type of vaping device on school grounds, according to cnhl.com.
While federal law forbids retail establishments to sell vaping devices to minors, state law currently only covers the illegal purchases of tobacco products.
Things could change soon in Pennsylvania, State Department of Health Spokesman Nate Wardle said.
If State House Bill 97 continues to gain legislative momentum – it unanimously passed the House of Representatives March 25 – teenagers attempting to “act cool” by vaping with their friends and are caught could get burned financially.
If underaged smokers of traditional cigarettes are nabbed attempting to buy cigarettes, they face fines up to $250 for a first offense. Teens busted for having cigarettes on school property could be fined $50.
Those levels of fines could prove to be a template for minors who elect to vape if SHB 97 eventually passes the Senate and signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf.
“Reversing the dramatic teenage use rates requires efforts on multiple fronts,” Sen. Lisa Baker, a Republican, said in a memo.
During the last legislative session, a similar bill also jumped unanimously from the House to the Senate before it died.
This current measure is expected to receive stronger support with Baker leading the charge.
Wardle added SHB 97 would help increase inspections of retail stores that sell vaping products to minors and crack down on such actions.
“If state law would bar the sale of vaping to minors, then we would include that in our inspections,” Wardle was quoted as saying.
During 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration executed 4,039 inspections or retail stores in Pennsylvania and found evidence of 69 stores where illegal purchases by minors were made, according to cnhl.com reported.
Regarding SHB 97 and the potential of levying fines to minors, the American Lung Association went on record to suggest raising the state’s legal age to purchase vaping devices to 21 would be more effective.
It likely would be better than the Quaker State acting tough against vaping teens.
Stay informed — check out our Vape News page!