By Sandie Love
INDIANAPOLIS – Minors will no longer be able to buy electronic cigarettes under a law that will take effect July 1.
House Bill 1225 – enacted by the General Assembly this spring – makes the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors a class C infraction. It will also make the purchase of electronic cigarettes with the intention of giving them to minors a Class C infraction.
“I don’t like the no-smoking bills, but I understand the law,” said Sen. Sue Glick, R-LaGrange, who sponsored the legislation in the Senate. “If we’re going to have these bills, then we need to not let youngsters smoke.”
Glick said the manufacturers of electronic cigarettes asked lawmakers to support this bill because they didn’t want to sell them to minors.
Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are a non-tobacco, odorless product. They contain no ash, but they do contain nicotine. They are sometimes marketed with a variety flavors, including vanilla, cherry and coffee bean.
Rep. Matthew Lehman, R-Berne, said he authored the bill because he believes the addictive qualities of electronic cigarettes should have the sale of them banned to minors.
“Indiana will benefit from updating its laws to bar children from having access to e-cigarettes before federal requirements are mandated,” Lehman said when the bill was passed. “Minors are not allowed to buy traditional tobacco cigarettes and should not have access to this product either.”
The bill will go into effect July 1.
Second-hand smoke is not an issue with e-cigarettes, but the nicotine contained in them makes them harmful to those who smoke them. That’s why several public health organizations supported this law, said Ken Severson, media relations coordinator for the Indiana State Department of Health.
They include the National Association of County and City Health Officials and National Association of Local Boards of Health, which have passed resolutions that support prohibiting the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors.
“In addition, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials supports effort at the federal, state and local level to increase the regulation of new and emerging tobacco products including electronic cigarettes,” he said.
Sandie Love is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.
This post has been corrected from its original version. The original story incorrectly described the new criminal charge created by the law. The law makes the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors a class C infraction. It will also make the purchase of electronic cigarettes with the intention of giving them to minors a Class C infraction. TheStatehouseFile.com regrets the mistake.