Bill seeking to add e-cigs to Delaware's indoor smoking ban returns to Leg Hall
An effort to ban electronic cigarettes or e-cigs from indoor public places is back before lawmakers this year.
Rep. Debra Heffernan (D-Bellefonte, Claymont, Edgemoor), an environmental toxicologist, is offering the same legislation she pushed a year ago, saying that cancer-causing elements are emitted in vapor expelled by the user. The bill adding e-cigs to Delaware’s Clean Indoor Air Act passed the House last year despite stiff opposition, but stalled in the Senate. Heffernan says she doesn’t expect the same pushback.
“I think that the difference this year is that there’s much more research showing that there’s harmful effects from the emissions that come out of e-cigarettes for people with secondhand smoke,” said Heffernan.
Heffernan's bill has notable Senate co-sponsor, Senate Pro Tem Patricia Blevins (D-Elsmere).
Blevins was among those a year ago questioning the body of research surrounding e-cigs emitting carcinogens into the air.
Heffernan also left out an amendment attached to the bill last year exempting e-cig shops that have been selling e-cigs for two years.
“In cigar stores and cigarette stores, people don’t smoke in those stores so I think it’s within the realm of possibility that you would be able to buy the product and you could go outside and try it,” said Heffernan.
Delaware’s Clean Indoor Air Act passed in 2002 and made it illegal to smoke in bars, restaurants, bowling alleys and other enclosed public spaces, while exempting private clubs and veterans halls.
While lawmakers failed to add e-cigs to that law last year, they did pass a measure prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.