E-Cigarette Users Upset Over Proposed Bill To Regulate Sales

Sunday, March 17th 2013, 11:32 pm
By: News 9

Those who've kicked the habit with the help of tobacco free electronic cigarettes say they are once again being targeted by "big tobacco." At issue is a Bill that would turn stores that sell E-cigarettes into conventional Cigarette venders and tax them as such.

The bill would make it so electronic cigarette shops can't sell to minors, but stores say they do that now, and this is just a cover to be able to tax the stores and the people who shop in them.

What goes on in vapor Shops like EVapes in Oklahoma City can be a little hazy for non-smokers. The shops sell electronic cigarettes, which use e-fluid that contain nicotine. Courtney Conrady owns EVapes and had been smoking since she was 15 until she tried an e-cigarette last year.

"Basically you're killing yourself smoking a cigarette. If you can switch to vaping, it has improved hundreds of thousands of lives," said Conrady.

Other shop owners met next door to her business to talk about the bill authored by Sen. Rob Johnson. It would make all vapor shops only sell to people over 18 years old. But customers are upset the bill would add another tax on electronic cigarettes.

"They're setting it up so that these shops are going to have to buy exclusively from, they're going to have to be licensed as cigarette vendors, which they're not. Then they'd have to buy solely from tobacco distributors," said customer, Bryan Hull.

E-cigarette advocates feel the bill would give way for tobacco companies to start regulating vapor shops.

"They're losing customers and they want them back. So if people are going to buy electronic cigarettes, which they can't stop, they want them to buy them from the tobacco company," said Vapor Hut employee, Allison Taylor.

News 9 tried reaching out to the bill's author, but we weren't able to hear back as of Sunday night. The bill passed on the Senate floor earlier this month. It is currently in the House's Public Health committee.