Del. Moves Closer to Banning Minors from Buying eCigs - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. Moves Closer to Banning Minors from Buying eCigs

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - Delaware state lawmakers moved closer prohibiting minors from buying e-cigarettes. A House committee approved a bill to do that Wednesday afternoon - sending it to the full House.

Right now state law is mum on minors and e-cigarettes. This bill would change that.
It adds the phrase "tobacco substitute" to a whole host of state laws regulating tobacco products and minors.

Data shows e-cigarette use among minors is on the rise in Delaware.

"From one year to the next, we saw a doubling in use among middle school and high school students," said Dr. Karyl Rattay, head of the state Division of Public Health. "Here in Delaware, we're seeing about ten percent of high school students are using these products."

Dr. Rattay says accessibility, marketing, flavoring and healthiness perception could all be playing a role in that.

No representatives from companies that make e-cigarettes showed up to the House Judiciary Committee hearing to speak against the bill.

"I think that the big tobacco companies know that there are going to be legislators who are going to want to prohibit youth from smoking. I think they trust adults will be intrigued with the product," said Rep. Debbie Hudson, R-Fairthorne, who sponsored the bill.

Groups like the American Cancer Society and American Heart Association were there. While they support a ban, they worry about state law calling the products "tobacco substitutes."

"E-cigarette products, vaping products - we really think they should be defined as tobacco products, very clearly," said Jonathan Kirsch, with the American Heart Association.

They're concerned about how the term "tobacco substitutes" would fit with other state laws regarding tobacco. Rep. Hudson say she wants to focus on stopping kids from buying e-cigarettes first before moving on to what she calls "more difficult pieces of legislation."

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