SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Two California bills aimed at curbing youth smoking by regulating e-cigarettes and boosting the smoking age to 21 have stalled in committee, with one lawmaker even rejecting his own measure after it was revised.
Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, renounced his bill Wednesday when the Committee on Governmental Organization scrapped its key provision that would have regulated electronic cigarettes as tobacco products. Leno angrily told the committee the diluted version of SB 140 will do nothing to protect the young people who are becoming hooked on e-cigarettes.
"I cannot support it any longer. I disassociate myself from it," said Leno, claiming the committee was fooling itself by claiming that devices which deliver doses of nicotine through a flavored vapor solution should not be defined as tobacco.
Adult smoking rates are at an all-time low, but e-cigarettes are experiencing an explosion in popularity, particularly among young people. For the first time in 2014, more teens reported using e-cigarettes than traditional cigarettes, according to the California Department of Public Health.
Scores of small business owners and e-cigarette users cheered the outcome, quickly pointing out that they were the ones who stood up and opposed the bill and not large tobacco companies.