- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 28, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Lawmakers in the Iowa House and Senate granted preliminary approval Tuesday to bills that would prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.

Subcommittees in both chambers approved similar measures, which will now move on for full committee-level review in the Republican-majority House and Democratic-controlled Senate. Currently there are no restrictions on selling e-cigarettes in Iowa to those under age 18.

“The real is concern about how these can be marketed at having young people getting started and addicted to nicotine,” said Sen. William Dotzler, D-Waterloo, during the Senate hearing. “This bill is really going to be targeted on youth.”

E-cigarettes heat liquid and nicotine into a flavored, smokeless vapor. They’re often used by smokers trying to quit, but e-cigarettes have grown increasingly popular among teenagers.

During both hearings, industry groups expressed support for the proposals. But public health advocates said that while they support barring sales to minors, they also want e-cigarettes to be classed as tobacco products, making them subject to additional restrictions and taxation.

Stacy Frelund, of the American Heart Association, said she feared the bill could have “a lot of unintended consequences.”

Rep. Chip Baltimore, R- Boone, said e-cigarettes were not the same as tobacco products because they offer nicotine vapor, and not the cancer-causing chemicals found in cigarettes.

Kristy Stoneburner, a manager with Central Iowa Electronic Cigarettes, which operates several stores in Des Moines, said using e-cigarettes helped her quit a lifelong smoking addiction.

“I used to be almost a four pack a day smoker… I think it’s a huge benefit,” she said of the products.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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