Senator fights to close loophole that allows retailers to sell e-cigarettes to minors

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wwltv.com

Posted on February 28, 2014 at 11:24 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 28 at 11:40 PM

Jaclyn Kelley / Eyewitness News
Email: jkelley@wwltv.com | Twitter: @jkelleyWWL

NEW ORLEANS - Louisiana is one of many states trying to get e-cigarettes added to the list of tobacco products that can only be used by adults.

It is a billion-dollar industry. Instead of having a smoke, more and more people are vaping. Still, the federal government has no laws on the books prohibiting the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors.

"The laws have just not kept pace with the technology in that area," said State Sen. Rick Gallot, who authored a new bill that would change that.

Louisiana is one of 29 states introducing bills that would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18.

Sen. Gallot says that manufacturers and stores are on board with the new legislation. In fact, e-cigarette stores like Smokecignals in New Orleans say they have already made it apart of their policy not to sell to anyone underage.

"Nicotine is not consumable for minors so we don't want our product to be consumable to minors," said Smokecignals Vice President Stephen D'Antonio.

D'Antonio says the e-liquid they make contains flavored tobacco and can have different amounts of nicotine added in. They also offer dozens of flavors, anything from banana pudding to blueberry mint.

However, state officials, like Gallot, worry these creative flavors make it more attractive to teens.

"Based on the data we have now there certainly seems to be an increase in the number of children that have been expose to it," said Gallot.

D'Antonio disagrees, saying their products are not enticing teens. Surprisingly, he says their company's main customer base is older, between the ages of 30 and 50 years old.

"One of the things are product is, is a viable option for those that want a healthier alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes," said D'Antonio.

Sen. Gallot says the proposed bill will have to pass the committee before it will go to the Senate floor for a vote. However, with little opposition to the bill, he expects it to become law later this year.

 

 

 

 

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