State Senate passes bill that bans e-cigarette sales to minors

On Thursday, April 24, the State Senate approved a bill introduced by Gov. Dannel Malloy that not only prohibits the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors, but also strengthens Connecticut's anti-smoking laws.

The legislation was approved in the Senate by a 35-0 vote.

"Connecticut should move swiftly to adopt laws that keep tobacco products out of the hands of our young people," said Gov. Malloy said. "I applaud the senators who voted for this bill."

In an April 24 press release, Gov. Malloy said he especially wanted to thank Senate President Donald E. Williams, Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, and Children's Committee co-chair Senator Danté Bartolomeo "for their leadership on this critical issue that will reduce tobacco use and tobacco-related illnesses and help keep our youngsters healthy."

According to the press release, Senate Bill No. 24 seeks to enhance Connecticut's efforts to prevent tobacco use among minors by:

  • Banning the sale of e-cigarettes and other vapor products to minors.
  • Reducing the number of tobacco retailers who commit repeat offenses by implementing a tobacco prevention education program for first-time offenders.
  • Cracking down on the sale of loose cigarettes.
  • Investing in tobacco prevention and cessation efforts.

The legislation now moves to the House for consideration.

The FDA's proposal

On the same day the bill was passed in the State Senate, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed a new rule that would extend the its tobacco authority to cover additional tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.

Currently, the FDA only has regulatory authority over cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco and smokeless tobacco, according to an April 24 FDA press release.

"Products that would be 'deemed' to be subject to FDA regulation are those that meet the statutory definition of a tobacco product," according to the press release. Such products would include currently unregulated marketed products like:

  • E-cigarettes.
  • Cigars.
  • Pipe tobacco.
  • Nicotine gels.
  • Waterpipe, also known as hookah, tobacco.
  • Dissolvables.

"Tobacco remains the leading cause of death and disease in this country. This is an important moment for consumer protection and a significant proposal that if finalized as written would bring FDA oversight to many new tobacco products," said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D.

"Science-based product regulation is a powerful form of consumer protection that can help reduce the public health burden of tobacco use on the American public, including youth."