House Health & Welfare Committee sign

BOISE — Electronic cigarette and vaping product retailers would have to register with the state, just like tobacco retailers, under legislation introduced Wednesday in the House Health and Welfare Committee.

The bill notes that nicotine is a “highly addictive, potentially harmful substance,” and says tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in Idaho.

“New and emerging tobacco products and electronic nicotine delivery devices like electronic cigarettes are linked to an increase in youth use of tobacco and nicotine products ... and are associated with increased addiction in youth users,” it continues.

Sponsored by Reps. Britt Raybould, R-Rexburg, and Brooke Green, D-Boise, the measure adds electronic smoking devices — which include vape pens, electronic cigarettes and pipes and vaping accessories — to the sections of state code dealing with tobacco products.

Smoking device retailers would need a state permit to legally sell their products. They would also be subject to random compliance checks, as is the case for traditional tobacco retailers. The bill also clarifies that tobacco and electronic smoking devices cannot be purchased with Food Stamps or public benefit cards.

The measure should now return to the committee for a public hearing.

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