Panel endorses bill to ban sales of e-cigarettes to minors


LITTLE ROCK — The House Rules Committee endorsed legislation Wednesday that would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.

House Bill 1398 by Rep. Greg Leding, D-Fayetteville, also would prohibit anyone under 18 from buying e-cigarettes and would authorize police to confiscate the devices from minors found in possession of them.

Leding said e-cigarettes were nothing more than a gateway for children to regular cigarettes. Supporters of his bill said minors were being targeted for sales and that while e-cigarettes do not have tobacco, they do contain nicotine and could be addictive.

Testifying against the bill, Ann Hines, executive vice president of the Arkansas Oil Marketers Association, said the state should wait for the results of a study of e-cigarettes being conducted by the federal Food and Drug Administration before adopting state regulations that could be superceded by federal guidelines.

The committee endorsed HB 1398 on a voice vote with no “no” votes heard. It goes to the full House.