News Home
Quick Bites
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
On AirNewsClassical
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Hospice of the Western Reserve

Akron General

Area Agency on Aging 10B, Inc.

For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )

Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Government and Politics

Ohio senators pass a controversial e-cigarettes bill
E-cigs would be considered alternative nicotine products -- not tobacco -- for tax and indoor smoking purposes and will be off limits to anyone under 18

Karen Kasler
The new bill classifies e-cigarettes as alternative nicotine products that are off limits to kids under 18.
Courtesy of Creative Commons Lindsay Fox
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:
Electronic cigarettes are a fairly new item on the market – they look like cigarettes, but don’t produce smoke or ash. But they’re also sparking debate on how they should be regulated and taxed. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler has more on the e-cigarettes bill that state lawmakers just approved.
LISTEN: Debate on how to categorize e-cigarettes

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:21)

The bill puts e-cigarettes into a new category of alternative nicotine products, and says those products, like tobacco products, are off limits to kids under 18. 

Rep. Stephanie Kunze of the Columbus suburb of Hilliard sponsored the bill, which she says was sparked by recent stats showing a doubling in the number of middle and high school students trying e-cigarettes. Kunze says the new category is appropriate because, while most e-cigarettes do contain nicotine, there is not enough data to show that they are dangerous beyond the potential of nicotine addiction.

“Until these studies come out on the actual effects of e-cigarettes and other alternative nicotine products, I think it’s a little premature to lump them into a category that we have years and years of history on as being harmful.”

Not enough
But more than two dozen Democrats in the House voted against the bill, saying it didn’t go far enough. Rep. Nickie Antonio of the Cleveland suburb of Lakewood wanted e-cigarettes to be labeled, regulated and taxed just like regular cigarettes are.

“Should we find down the road that they’re not harmful, then give them a new category once the testing is in. I guess my question is: Why move so quickly now? Part of the reason, I believe, is that Big Tobacco is the sponsor of this bill and bills across the country.”

Kunze readily admits that Lorillard, the third largest cigarette maker in the country and a recent buyer of an electronic cigarette manufacturer, was involved in crafting this legislation. But she says that was helpful so that the measure could address the latest alternative nicotine products, such as suckers and lozenges. And she says there’s nothing in the bill that prevents changing the taxes on e-cigarettes when more studies are done on them.

What we don't know
“We don’t know how harmful they are. What if there’s a chemical in there that’s more harmful than a cigarette and we’ve settled on only taxing them at the rate of a traditional cigarette. We could have gone higher. So I think it’s important to realize we can still have that option even with the new definition and the new category.”

But Antonio points there are also no studies that show e-cigarettes or the vapor they produce is harmless, which is why she wanted them to be included in the state’s indoor-smoking ban. Nor, she says, is there evidence they will help people quit their traditional cigarette habit.

“There is no conclusive evidence that they can be categorized as a smoking-cessation aid. They’re also, because of this special category, falling outside of the Indoor Clean Air Act.”

Kunze says when she started working on the bill to limit kids’ access to e-cigarettes last fall, it had the support of major anti-smoking health groups such as the American Cancer Society. Antonio says that support fell off when e-cigarettes were put into the alternative nicotine products category instead of being regulated as tobacco products. The bill passed the Senate unanimously.
Listener Comments:

Antonio points there are also no studies that show e-cigarettes or the vapor they produce is harmless, which is why she wanted them to be included in the state’s indoor-smoking ban. Nor, she says, is there evidence they will help people quit their traditional cigarette habit.

Has this fool been hiding under a rock for the last couple of years. There is a lot of evidence proving they are harmless. Just google it fool.

Posted by: Tim Berry (Michigan) on February 14, 2014 8:02AM
Add Your Comment


E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook

Stories with Recent Comments

Kasich campaign evokes dark images of a Trump presidency

Backers of legalizing marijuana in Ohio promise to be back in 2016
We should be aloud to grow more than 4 plants and not have to register with the state considering it will be a free market.

Akron says it's had no second thoughts about welcoming refugees
What business does Councilman Neal own on North Hill? I'd love to support him. I am so glad to have the refugees in our neighborhood. I have lived here for 25 ...

Scarborough says the University of Akron is trying to rebuild relationships
In order for the University of Akron to grow and become a desirable place for students across Ohio and elsewhere, it must address the crime problem in the Akron...

Ohio Sen. Cliff Hite wants to end pay-to-play sports fees at Ohio's schools
You can bet Hite and Husted will also rush to the rescue of the Academic Challenge team, the speech-and-debate squad, the Science Olympians and the chess club. ...

Ohio lawmakers consider new gun bills
States that have gun restrictions/cities have reduced gun violence is false. CHICAGO has some of the toughest gun laaws/restrictions but yet fun violence is off...

Cleveland's public transit system considers fare increase for 2016
I work with individuals with disabilities. Yes some of my folks need more help than the average person. As a whole, the group I work with however can manuver ju...

Community group sues to re-open part of Wadsworth hospital
My father was part of the founding group of citizens which started the "new" Wadsworth/Rittman Hospital. For some reason the leadership for the future of the ho...

The Cleveland Museum of Art presents painters who loved their gardens
brilliant masterpiece, Greetings from

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University