DETROIT (WWJ/AP)- No more electronic cigarettes for minors in Michigan?
A bill introduced by Democratic Senator Glenn Anderson of Westland has passed unanimously in the Michigan Senate banning the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18.
Governor Rick Snyder’s administration and several health advocacy groups oppose the bills, saying the legislation protects e-cigarettes from standard tobacco regulations, including taxation.
Anderson told WWJ those concerns are misguided.
“They should be on the side of protecting these children,” Anderson said. “What they are trying to do is see this as an opportunity to reach for the moon, and get taxes on these e-cigarettes. Tax them the same way tobacco products are.”
Anderson also believes that those on the opposing side don’t quite understand the message the Michigan Senate is trying to get across.
“It’s strictly to get them out of the hands of minors,” he said. “What they’re probably talking about is the definition of the product. The product definition in the bill is very wide, ranging and encompassing, that it would restrict them from being sold to minors.”
The electronic device delivers nicotine through vapor instead of smoke, though the health risks are still largely unknown.
E-cigarettes are sold in dozens of flavors that appeal to kids, including cotton candy, bubble gum, and orange cream soda.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says that data shows an alarming increase in e-cigarette use among U.S. middle school and high school students from 2011 to 2012.
The number of students in grades 6 to 12 reporting having ever used an e-cigarette doubled from about 3,5 to almost 7 percent. Recent use of e-cigarettes among 6 to 12 year-olds doubled, too.
Anderson said he is sponsoring the legislation because it’s “outrageous” that a minor can legally buy and use a highly addictive product.
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