A Florida lawmaker who is also a physician has filed a bill for next year’s session that would ban the purchase of electronic cigarettes by minors. Sales of the smokeless cigarettes, which use heat to vaporize liquid nicotine, have tripled in the past year, and there is little government regulation on them.
Many E-cigarette companies claim their products are safer and cleaner than traditional smokes. But the bill sponsor, Representative Doc Renuart says that's debatable.
He says the products are being heavily marketed to teenagers, but it's unclear which products it's legal for the kids to buy.
"Currently, if you go to a convenience store, you’ll see a rack of these e-cigarettes and they are right next to the candy", Renuart said. "Where they should be is behind the counter next to the cigarettes, and they should be treated just like cigarettes in state statutes."
Renuart says his bill would clear up any misunderstanding about who can buy the products. He adds that e-cigarettes could eventually lead to kids smoking traditional cigarettes, since normal smokes are far less expensive than the electronic version.
If passed by the Florida Legislature, Renuart's bill would take effect next July.