Lawmakers vote to limit minors access to e-cigarettes

Posted at 12:06 AM, Feb 25, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-25 00:06:05-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) --On Monday, lawmakers in the Virginia Senate passed several house bills regarding the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and the use of e-cigarettes on school property.

Unlike conventional cigarettes, e-cigarettes use a battery to convert liquid nicotine and flavoring into an inhalable vapor, without exposing users to cancer causing tar and other harmful carcinogens.

“Kids have no business puffing on these things,” said Delegate Dave Albo, (R) Fairfax.

Albo, who introduced legislation banning the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, says studies show a surge in e-cigarette use among teenagers and a strong link to nicotine addiction.

There’s currently no Virginia laws or FDA regulation regarding the sale of e-cigarette products.

House Bill 484, which also passed the Senate, requires school divisions to create a policy by July 2015 to ban e-cigarettes on school property, school buses and at school-sponsored events.

Other passed legislation clarifies that school administrators have the discretion to decide whether to expel offending students based on “the facts of the particular situation.”

Noelle Pryor, owner of RVA Vapes, says she’s relieved to see legislation pass both houses. “It should be regulated,” Pryor says.  “We all agree that there should be regulations on them.”

While RVA Vapes prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine to minors, she says several online vendors don’t have strong policies in place to prevent the sale of e-cigarettes to teenagers.

The American Cancer Society strongly supports the legislation, as well as FDA regulation of e-cigarettes.

While e-cigarette manufacturers claim the ingredients are safe, the ACS says there’s a limited number of studies that have examined the contents of e-cigarette vapor.

Some studies have found the vapor to contain only propylene glycol, nicotine and flavorings, while others studies found the vapor contained heavy metals, volatile organic compounds and tobacco-specific nitrosamines.

The legislation now heads to Governor Terry McAuliffe.