Not that it’s stopped truly determined high schoolers before, but a bill that seeks to lower the legal age for buying vapes, e-cigarettes and other heated tobacco products has passed Congress on its final reading. It has now been sent to the Senate, where it will undergo the same deliberations process.
House Bill 9007, or the Non- Combustible Nicotine Delivery Systems Regulation Act, passed the lower chamber with 192 out of 300 congressmen voting to approve it, with only 34 voting against and four abstaining.
The bill seeks to regulate the manufacture, importation, sale, distribution, use, advertisement, promotion and sponsorship of electronic nicotine and non-nicotine delivery systems (ENNDS) and heated tobacco products (HTPs) — commonly known as vapes and e-cigarettes, in other words.
Although the bill aims to regulate sales and advertisement of the new generation of tobacco products — prohibiting their sale or distribution near schools, for example — health advocates and youth groups are concerned that the bill also lowers the legal age for buying tobacco products to 18, from 21 years old currently.
The bill’s passage comes just as public sentiment internationally has turned against these newfangled nicotine delivery systems. Recently, author Lauren Etter released The Devil’s Playground: Big Tobacco, Juul, and the Addiction of a New Generation — in the book, describes how e-cigarette giant Juul took Big Tobacco’s playbook to push “potently addictive” products.
On the other hand, lawmakers who support the bill highlight the harm reduction measures in the legislation, such as making health warnings on packages mandatory.
Among the bill’s detractors include Rep. Angelina Helen Tan, chair of the House Committee on Health, who said that the bill “pretends to be a health measure for all, but only gives primordial consideration to trade and commercial interests of the few.”
This article, Bill lowering the legal age for vaping takes one step closer to become a law, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.