Change effective Jan. 1 bans sales to minors, indoor use

On New Year’s Day, Oregon will ban sales of e-cigarettes to teenagers and also ban their use in public indoor settings.

House Bill 2546 heads to Gov. Kate Brown for her signature after the House gave final approval by a 55-2 vote Thursday.

The Senate made only one change in the version the House passed March 2. It added Jan. 1 as the bill’s effective date.

The bill would ban sales of e-cigarettes to those under 18 — under the bill, they are called “inhalant delivery systems” — similar to an existing ban on sales of regular cigarettes and other tobacco products to minors.

E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco. They are battery-powered devices that create a vapor mix from liquid nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals, which are inhaled. Oregon is one of just nine states that do not ban sales of e-cigarettes to minors.

The bill also would bar use of e-cigarettes by adults where smoking already is banned under the Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act, which was extended to bars and taverns in 2009.

Commissioners in Multnomah and Benton counties adopted similar ordinances earlier this year.

In Multnomah County, which includes Portland, the ban took effect in April; in Benton County, which includes Corvallis, it took effect this month. They will stand until the state law takes effect.

The bill also permits specified facilities to allow use of vaporizers by medical-marijuana patients, who hold state cards. Those vaporizers differ from e-cigarettes.

While there is debate about the health effects of vaporized nicotine, lawmakers concluded that enforcement would prove easier if the indoor-use ban applies to both e-cigarettes and tobacco products.

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