FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 01/29/2015
REP. CHRIS PADDIE FILES BILL TO BAN SALES OF ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES TO MINORS
State Rep. Chris Paddie (Marshall) filed a bill that will ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors. HB 970 will make it a criminal offense to sell electronic cigarettes to Texas youth under the age of 18.
“The goal of this legislation is very straightforward. We want to prevent youth access to electronic cigarettes by making it illegal to sell to minors. Period," said Rep. Paddie. “Fortunately, most Texas retailers would never sell electronic cigarettes to minors since they are currently forbidden from selling tobacco products to youth. Sadly, we have to spell it out and make it a criminal offense for the handful of retailers who want to take advantage of the loophole."
HB 970 would establish the minimum legal age at 18, and require valid proof of age and minimum age signage at retail stores. Texas is currently one of only nine states that has no age restrictions on the sale of electronic cigarettes.
"No matter where e-cigarettes end up falling on the health risk continuum, any risk to children is unacceptable,” he added.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently writing rules to govern the sales and use of nicotine vapor products. Rep. Paddie said his single subject bill is the best approach to ensure minors are prohibited from buying electronic cigarettes while federal regulations are still evolving.
“I am glad the FDA is finally addressing this issue, and I hope to pass a carefully crafted bill that does not run the risk of being superseded by federal law. I think we can all agree that the appropriate role for the state is to step in and protect Texas youth today,” said Rep. Paddie.
Rep. Paddie is serving his second term in the Texas House of Representatives, where he represents District 9, including Cass, Marion, Harrison, Panola, Shelby, and Sabine Counties.
Rep. Paddie also serves on the House Energy Resources Committee, the Subcommittee on Seismic Activity, the House Land and Resource Management Committee, the Joint Committee on Coastal Barrier Systems, and the Select Committee on Healthcare Education and Training.