Vaping products, including electronic cigarettes, could not be used in indoor public settings under a bill approved by an Illinois Senate committee Tuesday.
Under Senate Bill 1864, the devices would be treated the same as tobacco products when it comes to using them indoors in public areas.
Sen. Terry Link, D-Waukegan, said he wants to combat the increasing use of e-cigarettes by school age children.
“We are at a stage where we need to pass this. We need to put it in Smoke Free Illinois,” Link said. “We have an epidemic of problems in schools today that need to be rectified. I do not want this to linger around for another year.”
Jake Butcher of the Smoke Free Alternatives Coalition of Illinois said his organization tried to work out a compromise where e-cigarettes could be used indoors at the shops that sell them so customers would have a chance to try the product.
However, Link said anti-smoking proponents were against the idea and he was unable to work out a compromise. He said, though, that he was willing to work over the summer on a follow-up bill that could address the issue.
Craig Kitson of 9-1-1 Vapor said e-cigarettes are unfairly linked with heavy metals in the vapor.
“The damage done by this fear-induced media craze has most certainly caused many to forever be against vapor products,” he said. “The Smoke Free Act is about protecting others from the dangers of combustible tobacco. Vapor products do not contain smoke.”
However, Kathy Drea of the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest said the Food and Drug Administration has classified e-cigarettes as tobacco products. Asked if there is tobacco in the products, Drea said, “nicotine is derived from tobacco.”
Link said that e-cigarettes “get you off of smoking, but it doesn’t get you off of nicotine. We’ve got a crisis in schools and we need to do something. Kids start with these and move on to other things.”
Drea also said that unlike tobacco stores that are heavily regulated, there are no regulations in place for the e-cigarette businesses.
The proposal was approved by the Senate Public Health Committee, but only after Sen. Patricia Van Pelt, D-Chicago, changed her vote to get the issue to the Senate floor. She did not pledge to support it during a floor vote, though.
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May 28, 2019 at 04:48PM