[California] ~ Today, the California Senate, as part of the Legislature’s extraordinary session on health, passed legislation calling for new statewide regulations on electronic cigarettes. SB X2-5, authored by Senator Mark Leno, District 11, protects the public against exposure to e-cigarettes by ensuring they are accurately defined as tobacco products and fall under the state’s existing smoke-free laws. It also requires that all e-cigarettes and liquids for e-cigarettes be sold in child-resistant packaging. Leno stated:
Studies show that e-cigarettes are growing in popularity among a new generation of young Californians who are drawn to candy flavors like bubble gum and gummy bears. The rate at which middle and high school students are picking up e-cigarettes – before having smoked anything else in their lives – is alarming. We must take action now to address this public health crisis, for our children, and for the public health of non-smokers and smokers alike.
The state’s Smoke Free Act prohibits smoking at workplaces, schools, daycare centers, restaurants, bars, hospitals and on public transportation, protecting Californians from secondhand smoke and reducing the acceptability of smoking in general. E-cigarettes, however, do not fall under this existing law and are largely unregulated, despite a restriction on sales to minors. SB X2-5 fixes this loophole and aligns state law with proposed federal regulations that define e-cigarettes as tobacco products. The bill is co-sponsored by a coalition of national health organizations, including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association and American Lung Association. The bill will be heard next in the Assembly.