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Bill to Ban E-Cigarette Sales to Teens Advances in Ohio Senate

COLUMBUS (Chris Vanocur/Ken Hines/AP) -- Proponents of a controversial bill aimed at keeping e-cigarettes out of the hands of teens are one step closer to accomplishing their goal.

Tuesday, a state senate committee easily passed House Bill 144, which would ban the sale of all nicotine products, -- including e-cigarettes -- to minors.

Simply put, e-cigarettes simulate smoking. Using a warm, nicotine liquid, their vapor can be inhaled and exhaled.
 
"It's definitely a priority to keep children safe, and to do whatever we can as legislators to make sure that an addictive substance is not something that they can just go in and purchase off the shelf," the bill's sponsor Rep. Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) said.

Kunze, the mother of two daughters, also hopes the bill will prevent teens from using the e-cigarette devices to smoke marijuana and other drugs.

"Kids are taking them apart, they're putting other substances, other illegal drugs, in them in order to vaporize those harmful substances as well," Kunze said.

Despite the proposed ban on sales to teens included in the bill, some anti-smoking groups oppose the legislation because of stipulations that define e-cigarettes as "alternative nicotine products."

Critics fear that designation might lead to less stringent regulations and taxes on e-cigarettes compared to those currently imposed on traditional tobacco products.

AP contributed to this report.
 
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