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Ruston lawmaker's bill to ban sale of e-cigarettes to minors adv - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Ruston lawmaker's bill to ban sale of e-cigarettes to minors advances

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RUSTON, La (KTBS) -

Electronic cigarettes do the same thing real cigarettes do--give users a nicotine fix. The only difference is an e-cigarette is suppose to deliver it without all the other harmful chemicals and smoke.

Because there is no tobacco used, there is not a law in Louisiana that regulates the sale of this product. That means those under the age of 18 can legally buy the e-cigarettes.

Five Louisiana law makers saw the need to change this. State Senator Rick Gallot of Ruston was one of them.

“Early research is showing an increase in the use of electronic cigarettes by children,” he said.

A study conducted by the Center for Disease Control shows about 2 percent more middle and high school students said they used an e-cigarette in the previous month when asked in 2012. That's up 1 percent from in 2011.

Research continues on how e-cigarettes effect your heath. There are concerns that teens are more vulnerable to addiction than adults, and that nicotine can affect adolescent brain development.

Gallot's bill adds ‘alternative nicotine products’ to the list of products anyone under the age of 18 can not buy.

“It's such a new product. We're really trying to get the law to catch up with the technology,” Gallot said.

Senator Gallot said most of the retailers he's talked to already do not sell to minors. That includes BuKu Vapor on Line Avenue. They don't even let minors inside. They have it posted on their door.

“Since the day we opened, we've had a pretty strict 18 and up policy,” said Kevin Robinson, the store’s co-owner. “It makes us uncomfortable. It makes other customers uncomfortable to have children in a place like this.”

Robinson said the shop a place where people can test out the different products even the different flavors.

The way e-cigarettes taste is appealing to young people, according to a congressional report. This report shows a sharp increase in the marketing of e-cigarettes to young people.

“Who doesn't like a blueberry or watermelon flavored vape?” asked Robinson. “We made sure our logo and our advertising doesn't contain any cartoon type characters or anything like that; anything that would be catchy to the younger generation.”

But BuKu's no-minor rule keeps kids out so electronic cigarettes can not even have the chance to get in their hands.

“Nicotine is addictive and we'd rather wait till they're old enough to find it themselves rather than them be exposed to it as a minor,” said Robinson.

Robinson supports Gallot's bill, as well as health organizations and the electronic cigarette industry according to the author. Everyone would like to keep children safe.

Senator Gallot's bill passed through the Senate without any opposition. It now heads to a committee in the Houseof Representativess for approval.

Last year, Arkansas lawmakers approved a ban on the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors.

The bill imposes a $100 fine on anyone who gives or sells an "e-cigarette" to a person who is younger than 18 years old.

Texas law makers have not taken any action on a state level. However, many cities through out the Lonestar State pass a wide range of laws, from restricting the use of electronic cigarettes in public to prohibiting the sale of the product to minors.

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