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Photo Credit: TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO - A bill approved Monday, March 2, by the Oregon House would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.Sales of e-cigarettes to teenagers would be banned, and use of e-cigarettes would be banned in most indoor settings, under a bill that has cleared the Oregon House.

A 56-2 vote Monday, March 2, sent House Bill 2546 to the Senate.

The bill would ban sales of e-cigarettes to those younger than 18 — under the bill, they are known as “inhalant delivery systems” — similar to an existing ban of 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.

“Children are highly susceptible to the dangers of nicotine,” says Rep. Kathleen Taylor, D-Milwaukie, the bill’s floor manager and one of its chief sponsors. “We’ve been successful in decreasing the rate of tobacco use among youth, but teen use of e-cigarettes has risen and will continue to rise, threatening that success.”

Rep. Bill Kennemer, R-Oregon City, says: “What it does is prep them to become smokers.”

Oregon is one of just nine states that do not ban sales of e-cigarettes to minors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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

Some representatives raised questions about providing an exemption for shops where vaporizing devices are sold. They also say they do not want to discourage use of e-cigarettes by adults who seek to quit smoking.

“I don’t want kids to buy it or have access to it,” says Rep. Bill Post, R-Keizer. “On the other hand, I don’t want to classify it as a cigarette if it’s a way to get people off cigarettes.”

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

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