Competing Vaping Regulation Bills Set Up Showdown At Arizona Capitol

Published: Thursday, May 16, 2019 - 12:11pm
Updated: Thursday, May 16, 2019 - 4:34pm
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Two bills at the Capitol may shape the future of the vaping industry in Arizona.

The first bill, House Bill 2357, is backed by the American Cancer Society.  Amended, Sen. Heather Carter (R-Cave Creek) said it sets the minimum age for purchasing vaping products at 18, but also allows local municipalities to create future regulations on the growing industry.

It passed unanimously through the Senate earlier in the session, but now sits idle on the State House Speaker’s desk.

In contrast, Rep. John Allen (R-Scottsdale) amended the second bill, Senate Bill 1147, to set the age limit at 21 years of age for purchasing vaping products. It is backed by the vaping industry and prohibits city, towns and other municipalities from regulating the sale and marketing of vape products in the future.

"A lot of states are going to a statewide legally framework,” Allen said. “This is a good move. It really goes to the cause of the problem."

The bill is awaiting a third read before it can pass out of the House. 

Carter has warned that bill is a concession made only to let what she calls the “Big Tobacco, Big Vape” industry define its own rules in the future.

"If you want a straight T-21 bill, I had that bill. It did not receive a hearing,” she reminded fellow lawmakers and said if SB1147 were simply to raise the age limit she would vote for it.

"This is Big Tobacco, which owns Big Vape, trying to define in statute their product so that they can pave the path for future generations to become addicted to nicotine," she said.

Healthcare lobbyists behind HB2357, said the broad language in it is deliberately written to ensure the tobacco industry cannot exploit loopholes in the pro-vaping bill.

Speaker Rusty Bowers has not decided whether to allow House members to vote on that bill.

To talk about how this stalemate might end, Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services, joined The Show.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The story has been updated to clarify Senate Bill 1147's status in the House. 

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