In Olympia, yesterday, Washington State Senators voted to approve a new bill aimed at reducing youth access to vapor products. Passing in a 37-6 vote, the bill combines several proposals focusing on improving the health of the state’s youth, specifically including agency requests from both the Attorney General Bob Ferguson as well as Governor Jay Inslee.
Of course, the bill will now head to the House of Representatives.
Sponsored by Senator Bruce Dammeier (R-Puyallup), revised Senate Bill 6328 sets forth a strong set of rules—across the state—affecting the sale of e-cigarettes and vapor products, similar to the existing tobacco laws alredy prohibiting the sale of cigarettes (et al) to minors.
As you may be aware, the e-cigarette (and vapor) industry remains largely unregulated across the country. As a matter of fact, aside from the legal buying age of 18, there is virtually no regulation on nicotine products like those in the e-cigarette and vapor industry despite the existing the evidence that nicotine is harmful to any who use it, especially chidlren and teenagers. Indeed, while there exists decades of study on the short and long term effects of [traditional] nicotine products, there is simply not enough clinical study on the potential risks for alternative nicotine products including e-cigarettes and vaporizers.
“This bill is an important step in protecting our kids from a largely unregulated industry,” explains Washington State AG Bob Ferguson. “By increasing enforcement and labeling requirements, we increase public safety and empower consumers to make informed decisions on what they consume.”
Along with restricting the sale of these products to minors, the bill will also provided additional measure aimed at protecting minors, including:
- Requiring warning labels on all vapor and e-cigarette product packaging (in a way similar to cigarettes
- Requiring internet sellers of these products to verify prospective buyer age before completing any sales
- Requiring those who manufacture such products to disclose the nicotine content of the products they sell
- Requiring child-resistant packaging and restricting open display cases
- Banning the use of such products in public areas like parks, schoolyards, and other areas where children may be present, also similar to existing smoking laws.