Michigan Senate votes to ban e-cigarette sales to minors

LANSING — E-cigarettes, which have grown in popularity since the state imposed a ban on smoking cigarettes in restaurants, would be forbidden for minors under a pair of bills unanimously passed by the state Senate on Thursday.

The bills would prohibit minors younger than 18 from buying or using e-cigarettes and keep retailers from selling the product to minors. It is illegal now for minors to buy real cigarettes, but not the e-cigarettes. Violation of the law would carry a $50 fine for both the minor and seller.

“Electronic cigarettes are very attractive to children. They come in flavors like root beer, orange, even seascape,” said state Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “It’s not something you play with; they are addictive, and many kids will probably go on to smoke real cigarettes.”

Electronic cigarettes are a nicotine alternative that vaporizes nicotine and flavors and produces little, if any, secondhand smoke. Most look like cigarettes and can be used in many bars and restaurants — many of which are struggling since the smoking ban took effect in 2010.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2011 that e-cigarette use across the U.S. had gone from 10% to 21% among people who also smoked real cigarettes. The percentage of all adults who had tried e-cigarettes had grown to 6% nationwide, double the number from 2010.

The bills now move to the House for consideration.



Posted by Tribune News Services

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