LANSING, Mich. — The state House this week approved legislation that would focus on limiting minors’ access to vapor nicotine products.
“The goal of these bills is simply to keep these items out of the hands of kids,” said Sen. Rick Outman, R-Six Lakes. “I’ve discussed this with administrators, teachers and school safety officers and they all say the same thing: vaping is growing in popularity faster than they can manage and we need to act now.”
Senate Bills 106 and 155, sponsored by Outman and Sen. Marshall Bullock, would prohibit a person from selling or giving a vapor product or alternative nicotine product to a minor and increase the monetary penalty for doing so. Federal law already prohibits the sale of vapor products to minors. However, there is no law in Michigan that prevents minors from possessing such products.
“Michigan is only one of two states without a law on the books,” Outman said. “I think this is an agreeable, nonpartisan issue and I’d like to see this signed into law.”
Under the legislation, nicotine products would have to be stored behind the counter or in a locked case. Violators would face a civil infraction and a fine of $500. Stores that sell e-cigarettes and other nicotine would have to have signage explaining the law and would have to ask for the identification of anyone attempting to purchase these products.
“We’re more focused on shop owners and preventing the sale of these items to minors than we are going after kids for possession, though the bills do address that as well,” Outman said. “So far, shop owners have been all for it. Many agree that minors should not be able to have these products. I hope the governor signs it into law and brings Michigan up to par with the rest of the country.”
The bills will now go to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk for final consideration.