Guest Blogger: Amanda Cahill, Montana Government Relations Director
On January 19th, Reg Hageman joined me at the Montana State Capitol to lobby for passage of Senate Bill 66 (SB66), "An Act Revising the Youth Access to Tobacco Products…Defining ‘Electronic Smoking Device,’ Revising the Definition of Tobacco.” This is a long title given to a bill that essentially would outlaw the sale of e-cigarette cartridges and e-cigarette liquid to minors and include electronic smoking devices (e cigarette cartridges) in the definition of tobacco product.
As the law stands currently in Montana, children are allowed to purchase an e-cigarette cartridge and any e-liquid that does not contain nicotine. This liquid can be put in the e-cigarette cartridge and inhaled into the lungs as the cartridge heats it and turns it into an aerosol. The industry that sells these products likes to call this type of inhalation of the aerosol “vaping,” claiming that the liquid is vaporized, while in reality it is made into an aerosol akin to the type you would spray out of a tin can.
There were two very distinct points that Reg told the committee during his testimony; kids are using e-cigarettes at an alarming rate and tobacco and “vaping” companies are targeting children with the use of flavored e-cigarette liquids like chocolate and gummy bear. Reg cautioned the committee against allowing Montana children to become the next generation of smokers as they habituate to performing the smoking behavior using these products.
Reg’s voice is a strong one with a lot of credibility. He is not only a health teacher at Capital High School in Helena, but he is also the VP of Recreation for SHAPE Montana- the Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. The American Heart Association is lucky to have advocates like Reg who take the time to voice their opinions on matters affecting the health of Montana.
In regards to SB 66, as of print time of this story the Senate Committee on Business, Labor, and Economic Affairs had not yet voted on its passage. In the time since it was proposed, several amendments have been proposed in response the vaping industry’s requests not to include electronic smoking devices in with the definition of tobacco products. Not including these products in the definition will make it difficult to regulate their use in indoor spaces in the future.