This week featured a dual between bills that say their goals are to address the vaping epidemic. One does and one doesn’t.
The Good Bill
This week the Senate approved (29-0) a bill from Senator Carter (a strike amendment HB 2357) that would classify vaping products in the same category as tobacco.
That means vape pens and the like would be subject to the same laws and rules that govern sales and where you can use them (e.g. vaping would be covered under the Smoke Free Arizona Act). It would also continue to allow cities and towns to impose their own stricter regulations. HB 2357 would continue to keep the sale age at 18 (rather than 21 which would be ideal) but it would still allow communities to adopt and keep their own ordinances which have raised the age for the purchase of tobacco and vaping products to 21.
After passing the Senate unanimously (as the e-cig version) it went to a Conference Committee a couple of days ago and passed through unanimously. Looks like it’ll be up for a floor vote on Monday in the House.
Now would be a great time to get with your 2 Representatives and let them know you support 2357 because it’s a common-sense bill that defines e-cigarettes as a tobacco product and would remove vaping from public spaces, workplaces and schools.
The Not Good Bill
The tobacco bill dualing for attention is SB 1147 (a different striker bill) which I blogged about last week. It would set the minimum age statewide for tobacco possession at 21 but it would override lots of other local ordinances about how tobacco and vaping products could be sold and would allow only “reasonable” zoning regulations about where sales can take place.
Another bad thing about SB 1147 is that e-cigs would be in a separate legal category from tobacco meaning it would specifically exempt vaping products from the Smoke Free Arizona Act (vaping didn’t exist when the Smoke Free AZ Act passed in 2006).
This one will likely see a House floor vote next week too. If it passes it would also need a conference committee because the original Senate version was completely different (about city development). If it gets through the conference committee- it would need another Senate floor vote.