UPDATE (7/09/2013): SB 622, a sensible bill that would ban sales of "vapor products" (e-cigarettes) to minors, has passed the Rhode Island House and Senate. If passed, businesses who sell an e-cigarette to a minor would be subject to a $500 fine. CASAA supports SB 622, as we have nearly every proposed State bill addressing sales of e-cigarettes to minors.
Unfortunately, as reported by the Providence Journal, the Rhode Island Tobacco Control Network (made up of the American Cancer Society and other related groups) is urging Governor Lincoln Chafee to veto SB 622. Why? They want to come back with a bill next year to not only ban sales to minors, but also apply Rhode Island's excessive 80% OTP tax to e-cigarette sales and BAN the sale of e-cigarettes in flavors other than tobacco and menthol.
CASAA is urging its members to contact Governor Lincoln Chafee at (401) 222-2080 or firstname.lastname@example.org and ask him to SUPPORT SB 622 by signing it into law. Tell your story about how e-cigarettes changed your life, but let him know that you also support SB 622 because banning sales of e-cigarettes to minors makes sense.
For more information on the American Cancer Society opposing bills to ban e-cigarette sales to minors, see these articles by Dr. Michael Siegel and CASAA's Dr. Carl Phillips.
Rhode Island: Ask Senators to Vote YES on E-Cigarette Sales Ban to Minors -- SB 622
This bill would:
- Ban the sale of "vapor products" (e-cigarettes) to minors
- NOT define e-cigarettes to be a "tobacco product"
- NOT unduly restrict the availability of e-cigarettes through online-based retailers
- NOT require e-cigarette retailers to obtain a tobacco license
UPDATE (6/25/2013): Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee adopted a substitute bill for SB 622. The substitute bill removed the sections of the bill that we had expressed concerns over, and thus we were happy to endorse the bill going into the committee meeting. Please see below this update for details on the new version of SB 622.
SB 622 will likely come before a vote in the full Rhode Island Senate later this week. This is a great opportunity for those who have had their lives changed by e-cigarettes to voice their support for this technology, while at the same time asking the Senators to vote YES on SB 622 because banning sales to minors makes sense.
CASAA would like to thank the sponsor of SB 622, Senator Dominic Ruggiero, who is the current Majority Leader of the Rhode Island Senate, as well as his staff. At a prior meeting of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Ruggiero indicated that he would remove the sections of the bill that were opposed by e-cigarette advocates. He followed through and did just that.