CINCINNATI - An Ohio bill that could be the state's first regulation of electronic cigarettes has a major health organization raising red flags.
The House Bill 144 aims, in part, to prevent children under 18 years of age from legally purchasing "alternative nicotine products." The American Cancer Society says it's concerned because the bill does not directly refer to electronic cigarettes as tobacco products.
Jeff Stephens of the ACS Cancer Action Network says it "sets the stage for these products to be treated differently than other tobacco products including taxing them at a much lower level or not at all..."
If passed, H. B. 144 would “amend sections 2151.87, 2927.02, 2927.021, and 2927.022 of the Revised Code to include alternative nicotine products within the restrictions that currently apply to the sale or distribution to, and possession or use by, minors of cigarettes and other tobacco products and to declare an emergency."
(Read the full proposed bill here: http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=130_HB_144 )
Hamilton resident Daniel Britt, who uses electronic cigarettes, says he likes that they aren't regulated by Ohio's indoor smoking ban.
"I’ve stayed at hotels that have non-smoking rooms, and I'll always ask about this and they have no problem with it. Restaurants and bars now have no problems with it," said Britt.
The idea of any restrictions beyond H.B. 144 concerns Britt.
"If you told me I couldn't use these indoors because they are like a tobacco product, I would have a problem with that."
As to whether electronic cigarettes pose any health risk, the American Cancer Society says the product is too new at this point to determine.
The only local lawmaker listed as a co-sponsor of House Bill 144 is Rep. Connie Pillich of Montgomery.
Pillich told 9 On Your Side the goal of the bill is to keep children from using nicotine products and that it’s important to keep them from smoking whether it’s a traditional or new cigarette.
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