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Follow VPR's statehouse coverage, featuring Pete Hirschfeld and Bob Kinzel in our Statehouse Bureau in Montpelier.

New Bill Seeks To Restrict Sale And Public Use Of E-Cigarettes

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The bill, which is currently waiting for final approval from the House, would restrict the sale and public use of e-cigarettes. A recent survey found high school students are more likely to use e-cigarettes on a regular basis than regular cigarettes.

The Vermont House has strongly favored legislation that restricts the sale and public use of electronic cigarettes. Backers of the bill argue that additional regulation is needed because, although the e-cigarettes don't contain tobacco, they do deliver high levels of nicotine through a vaporized process.

Burlington Rep. Jill Krowinski says more high school students use e-cigarettes than tobacco-based cigarettes.

According to the most recent youth behavior survey, 30 percent of high school students have tried e-cigarettes and 15 percent use them on a regular basis. This compares to 11 percent of the students who frequently smoke regular cigarettes.

Krowinski says retailers who sell these electronic products will now have to put them behind the counter in their stores.

“H. 171 helps protect Vermont kids from a growing health threat, e-cigarettes,” Krowinski says. “This legislation is not about preventing or banning adults from using e-cigarettes. What this legislation does is that it makes it harder for youth to purchase e-cigarettes." 

"By prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes where lit tobacco products are currently prohibited, H. 171 will strengthen the social norm of not smoking." — Burlington Rep. Jill Krowinski

The legislation also places e-cigarettes under the scope of Vermont's Indoor Clean Air Act. This means they will be banned in most public buildings, restaurants, hotels and in cars when children are present.

“By prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes where lit tobacco products are currently prohibited, H. 171 will strengthen the social norm of not smoking,” Says Krowinski. “It will also protect youth and pregnant women from exposure the most vulnerable people." 

The legislation is scheduled to come up for final approval in the House on Wednesday. It will then go the Senate for its consideration.

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