SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – The fast-growing vaping industry promoted itself Tuesday as a partner – not a scourge – in the effort to reduce smoking, as representatives urged California Gov. Jerry Brown to veto a bill that treats the products like tobacco.
The bill, one of six anti-smoking measures awaiting action by the Democratic governor, would subject electronic cigarettes to the same restrictions as traditional cigarettes, including workplace smoking bans.
A growing variety of vaping products are available that use a battery to vaporize a liquid that often contains nicotine and flavoring.
In a state Capitol news conference, industry officials said their products are not tobacco and shouldn’t be treated as such. Josh Krane, owner of Craft Vapery in Torrance, said vaping products are a far safer alternative to smoking tobacco and can only get safer if the industry is allowed to thrive and innovate.
“We are the largest anti-tobacco group and anti-smoking group in the country,” Krane said. “We believe we are part of the harm-reduction equation.”
The Food and Drug Administration has proposed regulations for e-cigarettes, but none has taken effect. The products have not been extensively studied, and there is no scientific consensus on their risks.
Proponents of the bill say vapor products are enticing to teenagers and threaten to get more young people addicted to nicotine.
“What we find is that e-cigarettes are really like a nicotine addiction kit for kids,” said Dr. Ruth Haskins, president-elect of the California Medical Association.
Another bill awaiting Brown’s action would raise the age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21. If he signs both, the vaping age would also rise.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.