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The Senate Health and Human Services Committee advanced a bill banning promotional sales practices for tobacco and vapor products Tuesday.
“There is a strong correlation between the cost of tobacco products, including vaping, and the number of young people using them. Discounted prices encourage consumption. Tobacco and vaping companies use promotions and coupons to encourage young people to buy them,” State Sen. Pat Diegnan said. “I am particularly worried about vaping products. Vaping has been growing quickly particularly among our younger generation, and we have to put a stop to it.”
The bill, S-1647, prohibits retailers from using coupons, price reductions and rebates related to the sale of tobacco and electronic cigarette products. Under the bill, violations would carry a penalty of $250, for a first violation, at least $500 for a second violation and $1,000 for all violations thereafter.
“In 2011, according to the CDC, tobacco companies have spent billions of dollars on discounts and promotion in the US alone. They do this in order to lure people into buying more of their products,” former Gov. Dick Codey, a state senator, said. “We will not allow the tobacco industry to poison another generation of Americans, and we will prevent them from promoting their products in this state.”
The legislative action comes at the same time as a spate of electronic cigarette-related deaths and illnesses across the nation.
Health officials have not yet drawn a link between the pulmonary illnesses, which have affected more than 450 and killed five, and any specific nicotine vapor product, though those affected by the mystery illnesses have used some kind of electronic cigarette products.
“The consensus is clear — children, young adults, pregnant women, and anyone who has never used tobacco products should not use vaping and e-cigarette products at all, and adults should seriously consider refraining from doing so,” Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli said.