PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) -- It is already illegal for minors to purchase cigars, cigarettes and any other tobacco-laden product. Now, a local lawmaker is pushing to add electronic cigarettes to a teenager's list of banned products.
Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio (D - Dist. 4, Providence) has introduced a bill which would make the sale of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes to minors illegal.
E-cigarettes, often shaped like cigarettes or cigars, consist of battery-operated heating elements which convert nicotine or other substances into a vapor the user inhales. They are typically used by smokers who are trying to wean themselves off the habit, as their lack of smoke makes them supposedly a "healthier" option than traditional cigarettes.
"These may not be real cigarettes, but the objective is to deliver the nicotine to the use," says Majority Leader Ruggerio. "Getting kids hooked on nicotine through an e-cigarette is, as far as I'm concerned, no better than getting them started on regular cigarettes. If we believe in protecting the health of young people, we need to keep these electronic smoking devices out of their hands."
Public health authorities have said that not enough research is available to confirm the safety claims of e-cigarette manufacturers.
Legislation was introduced on Wednesday afternoon.
Copyright WPRI 12
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