The Idaho House Health and Welfare Committee voted Wednesday to require distributors and retailers of e-cigarettes and vaping supplies to obtain a permit from the state.
The permit is identical to that which tobacco distributors must secure before selling cigarettes. Bill sponsor Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, said during testimony the permit would help block youth from accessing e-cigarettes.
Rusche, a retired physician, told his colleagues that though e-cigarettes may have a role to play in helping smokers break their addiction, he believes non-smokers receive no health benefits from taking up vaping.
“Vaping and e-cigarettes are new,” Rusche said. “There’s not enough time to know what the long-term effects is.”
There is evidence, he added, that some vaping liquids cause cell damage in the respiratory tract and the lungs.
If the bill finds its way into law, it wouldn’t change how Idahoans sell or buy e-cigarettes or vaping supplies, but it would give the state the ability to track businesses that sell such devices.
Erin Bennett, government relations director for the American Heart Association, endorsed the plan. She told the panel that while Idaho law bans e-cigarette sales to minors, youth vaping is on the rise. She also suggested that vaping could serve as a gateway to regular tobacco use.
Rep. Brandon Hixon, R-Caldwell, motioned to approve the bill, calling it a “level-headed piece of legislation” that could help the state combat future problems with vaping.
“These are relatively new in the marketplace,” Hixon said. “It would be a good idea, in case we have a problem down the road, to have some sort of paper trail leading to the sources of these.”
Only Rep. John Vande Woude, R-Nampa, voted against the measure.
The full House will deliberate the bill in the next few legislative days.
The Washington Post wrote earlier this year that e-cigarette and vaping sales are worth about $3 billion a year nationwide.
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