A Reuters news report indicates that a new bill introduced in the California legislature would ban the use of e-cigarettes in public places and increase enforcement against selling to minors.

The proposed bill would add e-cigarettes to the list of tobacco products regulated in the state, which already prohibits smoking in places such as bars, restaurants, and workplaces. In addition, the bill would also “ramp up” penalties for selling e-cigarettes to minors.

Democratic state Senator Mark Leno, who introduced the bill, states, “Whether you get people hooked on e-cigarettes or regular cigarettes, it’s nicotine addiction and it kills. We’re going to see hundreds of thousands of family members and friends die from e-cigarette use just like we did from traditional tobacco use.”

A group known as the American Vaping Association criticized the bill, which said it would harm smokers who are trying to quit by switching to e-cigarettes. President of the group Gregory Conley says, “California smokers deserve truthful information about smoke-free alternatives, not hype and conjecture designed to scare them away from attempting to quit with these innovative technology products.”

However, Leno says the bill, which is backed by the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, and the American Lung Association, said the vapor released by e-cigarettes contains carcinogens and the nicotine is addictive.

The Reuters news report notes that California would be the fourth state to treat e-cigarettes like regular cigarettes and the 23rd to regulate e-cigarettes in some fashion. Presently, 122 cities and counties in California have banned the use of e-cigarettes in certain public places.

Source: Reuters