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HB 405 passed unanimously in Idaho. The bill now bans the sale of e-cigarettes containing nicotine to children, and while it passed unanimously, it had a very concerned critic at first. Representative Dick Harwood was very vocal about his concerns that the bill would create a “nanny state” in Idaho.
The claims he made originated from his sentiment that the ban was structured by groups and sponsors who, in all actuality, do not want anyone to smoke whatsoever. The sponsor, Representative Bob Nonini, did state that many of the groups and supporters do not want anyone to smoke at all, but Nonini himself is a smoker.
Harwood kept up his concerns, though, claiming that the idea that minors were purchasing nicotine-containing e-cigarettes was not based in fact. That the Idaho Legislature was simply trying to extend its reach and impose laws and bans where there really should be no concern. He says that because the people backing the bill would prefer people don’t smoke at all, their statistics cannot be trusted. Harwood feels that because the groups backing the bill are biased, they would of course give information that’s biased toward passing the ban.
At the end of the day the bill passed unanimously, with Harwood changing his “no” vote to a “yes” in the final hours. It seems that despite his concerns in regards to Idaho becoming a nanny state, Harwood does see the sense in ensuring minors cannot obtain nicotine products.
Legislation banning the sale of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes to minors, though, is nothing new to the e-cigarette world. Other states have similar legislation either already passed or in the works. It seems to make sense, as well, given that other nicotine-containing products are already banned for sale to minors. What would make e-cigarettes that different, and why were these concerns not voiced in regards to other nicotine products?
The Safecig is elated to see another state prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors. What do you think? Do you think Representative Harwood’s concerns about a nanny state, or allegations of skewed statistics are founded? Are Idaho’s endeavors to protect minors too much?