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Legislators voted Thursday to impose new regulations on electronic cigarettes in an effort to discourage selling to minors.
The Senate passed HB415 28-0, and the House concurred with amendments on a 71-0 vote. It now goes to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature.
The bill would require businesses to obtain a license to sell the nicotine vaporizing devices.
By requiring licenses, the state can take action against a business directly rather than just the clerk if a store sells to a minor, including stopping it from selling e-cigarettes for a time as a punishment.
Clearfield Republican Rep. Paul Ray, the bill's sponsor, said the change puts e-cigarettes under a similar regulatory regime as tobacco and puts more teeth in the enforcement.
The bill also would impose some labeling and packaging requirements, including showing how much nicotine content is in e-cigarette juice and requiring that it be sold in child-resistant containers.
Ray noted that a survey of youth in Weber County showed 20 percent use e-cigarettes.
"It's a major problem. Tobacco companies realize they've got a product that [is] killing their clientele," Ray said in earlier debate. "In the next 20 years, if they don't addict a new generation to a tobacco product, they are going to go out of business. So this is the reason this is being marketed toward children."
Originally, Ray planned to impose a tax on e-cigarettes. Gov. Gary Herbert had hoped to raise $39 million a year from the tax to help fund his Healthy Utah plan to expand Medicaid.