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NH Considers Moratorium on E-Cigarettes Amid Teen Vaping Surge


Thursday, January 30, 2020   

CONCORD, N.H. -- A New Hampshire bill advocating a moratorium on e-cigarettes is facing a big vote this week.

House Bill 124 on Thursday is having a subcommittee work session, and next Tuesday, an executive session will recommend whether it should get voted on in the legislature or die.

According to a recent survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, New Hampshire high school students vape more than teens anywhere else in the country.

But vaping also is big business in the Granite State, especially as Massachusetts has banned flavored e-cigarettes.

Rep. Peter Schmidt, D-Dover, a bill co-sponsor, says he wrote it to be as objective as possible.

"The idea of a moratorium would be something that would be in the hands of the Commissioner of Health and Human Services, so that it would be made on more of a scientific and health-related basis rather than a strictly political decision," Schmidt states.

This legislation comes soon after neighboring Massachusetts temporarily banned vaping products last year -- which created a business boom for vape shops in the Granite State.

While the Commonwealth lifted the ban, selling flavored e-cigarettes there is still illegal. The subcommittee work session on the moratorium bill was to start at 9 a.m. at the statehouse.

Schmidt hopes going the moratorium route will be the most efficient way to deal with e-cigarettes.

"That's the reason I conceived of a moratorium as a way to get relatively quick action," he explains. "Because it seems to me like every hour that's wasted potentially endangers countless additional children here in the state of New Hampshire."

The Granite State also is considering a bill that specifically bans e-cigarettes with flavors other than tobacco. One reason is the flavors' popularity among young people.

But earlier this month, many New Hampshire vape shop owners spoke out to oppose the potential flavored e-cigarettes ban. They maintain e-cigarettes help those who otherwise would return to smoking.

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