ARIZONA NEWS

Bills meant to curb teen vaping stalled in Arizona State Legislature

Mar 11, 2020, 4:35 AM | Updated: 2:36 pm
(AP Photo/Samantha Maldonado)...
(AP Photo/Samantha Maldonado)
(AP Photo/Samantha Maldonado)

PHOENIX — Several bills meant to curb vaping among Arizona youth have stalled in the state legislature.

One of those bills was introduced by Sen. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek. Her bill, SB1501, would classify vaping products as tobacco, which would subject vaping products to the same restrictions as tobacco products. That includes restricting their use indoors.

“Right now, we are at a stalemate in terms of bills moving out of the Senate,” Carter said.

SB1501 did not get a committee hearing and the deadline for that to happen has passed. Carter blames it on lobbying efforts by the tobacco industry, which she said is “working relentlessly” to stop bills like hers that seek to “address the vaping crisis from a public health perspective.”

“It’s very disappointing when tobacco is able to have a chokehold on the Arizona legislature,” she added.

Carter noted two vaping-related bills passed in the House and await a vote in the Senate.

One of those bills, HB2826, would establish penalties for businesses that illegally sell tobacco and vaping products to anyone under 21. This comes after the federal government raised the minimum age to buy tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vaping cartridges, from 18 to 21.

A bill introduced by Sen. Martin Quezada, D-Glendale, is also stalled. His bill, SB1063, would prohibit vaping companies from advertising their products near schools and parks.

“Technically these bills are dead at this point unless we are able to amend them on to some other bill, but the chances of that are pretty slim,” he said.

The bills could be revived through alternative procedures, including as strike-everything amendments.

Quezada sits on the Pendergast Elementary School District Governing Board and said schools in the district have been seeing more students getting caught vaping.

“It’s becoming a bigger problem and I think that it’s going to continue to be more of a problem unless we do something about it,” he said.

Carter said she also worries about the increasing number of young people who are vaping and getting addicted to nicotine.

“Why we are letting tobacco addict a new generation of consumers is astounding to me,” she said. “We have to do something.”

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Bills meant to curb teen vaping stalled in Arizona State Legislature