House says ‘no smoking’ means e-cigs, too

A selection of fruit-flavored e-cigarettes. The bill does not ban flavoring.

The New Haven Independent

A selection of fruit-flavored e-cigarettes. The bill does not ban flavoring.

“No smoking” signs would apply to the use of electronic cigarettes under legislation passed late Thursday night by the state House of Representatives and sent to the Senate.

The House voted 99 to 46 for a bill that essentially would subject “electronic nicotine delivery systems and vapor products” to the same laws as smoking.

The American Vaping Association, which represents e-cigarette shops, had tried to convince legislators that vaping was a healthier substitute for smoking.

“They are not safe, but they are not as unsafe as cigarettes,” conceded Rep. Bob Godfrey, D-Danbury, a sponsor of the bill.

“I think it’s probably better than cigarettes at the end of the day,” said Rep. Matthew Ritter, D-Hartford, co-chair of the Public Health Committee.

But Ritter said vaping still delivered nicotine, and evidence was presented at a public hearing that there is such as thing as second-hand vaping mist.

Rep. Brenda Kupchick, R-Fairfield, voted against the bill, saying vaping helped her.

“Frankly, I don’t think I would have been able to quit smoking without e-cigarettes,” Kupchick said, adding, “It’s kind of a deterrent for people to have to go outside.”

Rep. James Albis, D-East Haven, voted against the bill, saying it was not sufficiently stringent. Albis complained that it did not ban fruit-flavored e-cigarettes, which he says are marketed to children.

Ritter called the bill a bipartisan compromise.