Senate panel OKs Jones bill to ban e-cigarettes for minors

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Regulatory Reform Committee on Wednesday approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones to protect children from nicotine abuse in Michigan.

“Using electronic cigarettes can be just as addictive as smoking traditional cigarettes, and Michigan currently has a loophole allowing children under age 18 to purchase these addictive products,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “According to a 2016 report by the U.S. surgeon general’s office, e-cigarette use grew an astounding 900 percent among high school students from 2011 to 2015. This measure would close the loophole in Michigan law and protect our children from the harmful effects of e-cigarettes.”

Senate Bill 37 would prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes and nicotine cartridges to minors as well as ban minors from possessing these objects.

Under Jones’ legislation, stores that sell electronic cigarettes or nicotine cartridges to minors would be treated the same as if they sold them tobacco. Minors who possess these items would be treated the same as if they were in possession of tobacco.

“If an adult wants to smoke, that is their decision,” Jones said. “However, I believe that it is our duty to protect our children and that sometimes means stepping in to stop them from making life-changing decisions. We must stop young people from being introduced to a culture of smoking before they can fully understand the gravity of choosing to smoke.

“This is a good balance that allows adults to choose an alternative to traditional cigarettes and also protects our kids. Doing nothing is irresponsible and dangerous.”

SB 37 now heads to the full Senate for consideration.