New rules were proposed on Friday that would curtail sale of electronic cigarettes in convenience stores and electronic discounters in Utah to limit kids from using them. The regulations, if approved by the Utah legislature, would also ban the advertising of cigarettes and electronic cigarettes in those stores, and prohibit vaping in workplaces, public spaces and vehicles used by the general public.
While the rules have the support of many health advocates, including the American Lung Association and the American Heart Association, the electronic cigarette manufacturers have resisted the idea. In January, the industry filed a lawsuit to block implementation of similar restrictions that had been in place for 15 years in New York State, a law that the Utah officials are using to establish new rules in that state.
“These are dangerous products and should be kept out of the hands of children,” Jared S. Gregory, president of the Utah chapter of the American Heart Association, said in a statement. “Utah lawmakers are looking to protect our kids from the harmful effects of nicotine addiction while giving Utah businesses the freedom to offer public education and promotion.”
Electronic cigarettes are currently sold primarily in convenience stores in the U.S. Vaping advocates say the vapor that is inhaled is indistinguishable from smoke. Opponents contend that teenagers smoke because vaping gives off a similar chemical smell as tobacco smoke, making it appealing to them.
Vaping bans that are adopted by state and local governments are referred to as “cannabis” laws because they target the substance, not the user.