Rhode Island’s 2014 Legislative Session commenced on January 7. On opening day, House Finance Chairman Helio Melo introduced House Bill 7021, which would prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors and require vendors to be licensed. The bill would define e-cigarettes as a tobacco product. Chairman Melo worked with Tobacco Free Rhode Island partners including the American Heart Association to finalize the legislative language. Please ask your representative to support HB 7021.
ON 1ST DAY, R.I. LAWMAKERS INTRODUCE BILLS ON E-CIGARETTES, CRIMINAL RECORDS, ANIMAL ABUSE AND MORE
By Philip Marcelo
Philip Marcelo Providence Journal
Published: January 08 2014 02:20
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - On Tuesday, the first legislative day of 2014, Rhode Island lawmakers introduced 31 pieces of legislation dealing with a wide range of issues, from electronic cigarettes to utility rate increases, hit-and-run accidents, animal abuse and criminal records.
House Finance Committee Chairman Helio Melo, D-East Providence, submitted a bill that would ban minors from purchasing e-cigarettes and related products that "rely on vaporization or aerosolization" to heat liquid nicotine into a smokeable vapor.
Last year, Governor Chafee vetoed similar legislation that passed the General Assembly, after the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, and other health advocacy groups strongly objected.
The groups said that version represented a "stalking horse" for tobacco and e-cigarette companies that want to exempt the growing industry from the regulations and taxes imposed on traditional tobacco-based products because it defined e-cigarettes and other related products as "vapor products."
Melo's proposal this year appears to address that concern by clearly placing the vapor products under the state's definition for tobacco products.