Legislature(2017 - 2018)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)
04/03/2017 01:30 PM Senate JUDICIARY
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SB 15-E-CIGS: SALE TO AND POSSESSION BY MINOR 2:39:30 PM CHAIR COGHILL announced the consideration of SB 15 and noted that the intent is to take public testimony. He listed the individuals who were available to answer questions. 2:41:38 PM TERRENCE ROBBINS, representing himself, Ketchikan, Alaska, testified in strong support of SB 15. He said it will reduce youth access to nicotine by raising the age to purchase e- cigarettes to age 19. Youth are drawn to flavored nicotine products such as e-cigarettes making them susceptible to addiction. A 2015 youth survey by the American Medical Association showed that 81 percent of youth users of e- cigarettes started with a flavored tobacco product. He said that paring that with the Surgeon General report that states that 90 percent of current smokers became addicted before age 18, you can see why it is important to limit youth access to nicotine. He reported that he started using flavored chewing tobacco at age 13 and continued for the next 27 years. 2:43:27 PM ALYSSA KEILL, representing herself, Fairbanks, Alaska, testified in support of SB 15. She is a swim coach of school age children and she doesn't believe that youth benefit from easy access to electronic smoking devices. Furthermore, they don't understand that these products are no less harmful than other tobacco products. 2:44:10 PM BETTY MACTAVISH, American Lung Association of AK/ACSCAN, Kodiak, Alaska, testified in support of SB 15. She spoke of the Surgeon General report; the health effects of inhaling particles that contain nickel, tin, and lead; and the effects of nicotine on the developing brain. She said youth in her community are using e-products in increasing numbers. Reports from school police officers indicate that youth are mixing e-juice with marijuana. She stated that she has found no one in the community of Kodiak who is opposed to the bill. Even retailers do not believe that e-cigarettes should be sold to minors. 2:46:20 PM KRISTIN COX, representing herself, Juneau, Alaska, testified in support of SB 15. She opined that it is appropriate to include e-cigarettes under the tobacco retail license. Allowing local control will help protect youth. She reported that in 1995 the Alaska youth smoking rate was 37 percent and the rate of stores selling tobacco to minors was 34 percent. Since the state implemented the statewide local enforcement program, the rate of stores selling to minors has decreased to 7 percent and the rate of youth smoking has decreased by 70 percent. She expressed great concern that the tobacco industry is targeting youth with its marketing and candy-flavored e-products. 2:48:15 PM NOEL CROWLEY BELL, representing herself, Palmer, Alaska, testified in support of SB 15. She expressed concern about the rising use of electronic cigarettes and the unrestricted marketing that resonates particularly to youth. Signage at retail shops barring the entrance of persons under age 19 does not seem to stem the use by youth. SB 15 will address the problem by dealing with how and where youth are accessing these devices. She noted the Surgeon General report that warns that youth are particularly vulnerable to the long-term consequences of brain exposure to nicotine. It concludes that the use of nicotine in any form is unsafe for youth. 2:51:14 PM LOGAN DANIELS-ENGEVOLD, representing himself, Anchorage, Alaska, testified in support of SB 15. He stated that during high school he saw many classmates who missed a lot of great opportunities because they used e-products. "If there is no repercussion for sale, then there is no reason to stop," he said. 2:52:09 PM STEVEN MAPES, representing himself, Kenai, Alaska, testified in opposition to SB 15. He said he owns Mapes Vapes and is a member of SFATA (Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association). He described the bill as redundant, expensive for the state, and unnecessary. He maintained that the FDA regulations pertaining to personal vaporizers and electronic smoking devices and nicotine products address the age requirements for sales of nicotine devices and products in all states. He said he has helped 312 adults to stop using tobacco products. He asserted that electronic devices are a healthy alternative to smoking for adults. He expressed concern that the wording in the bill allows parents and guardians to purchase nicotine products for minors under their supervision. He warned that SB 15 will cost the state money. 2:54:57 PM ALEX MCDONALD, representing himself, Fairbanks, Alaska, testified in opposition to SB 15. He owns Ice Fog Vapor and is a member of the Smoke Free Alternative Trade Association (SFATA). He expressed concern that the bill allows a parent or guardian to provide e-cigarettes to a minor under their supervision. He questioned how this would be enforced and recommended removing that provision. He also expressed concern that the federal regulations deeming all vapor products and components tobacco products includes such things as cotton, wire, and batteries. He also asserted that the federal regulations make this bill redundant. He discussed a 12/16/16 memo to Stacy Toner and recommended that the state wait to see if vaping is included in the SYNAR block grant requirements before moving forward with the legislation. 2:58:16 PM BEVERLY LARSON, representing herself, Anchorage, Alaska, testified in support of SB 15. She is a high school student who sees many kids her age buy e-products. Access is quite easy. They are tobacco products and she believes they should be treated as such. She voiced support for weeding out retail shops that are breaking the law by selling to minors. 2:59:36 PM EMILY NENON, Alaska Government Relations Director, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Juneau, Alaska, testified in support of SB 15. She recounted the efforts starting in 2003 to prevent the sale of tobacco products to minors. The penalties were increased to suspend the sales license endorsement. In 2003 the rate of tobacco sales to youth was 30 percent. The next year when the penalties for noncompliance were in place the rate dropped to 10.2 percent. The current statewide rate of sales of tobacco products to youth is close to 6 percent. She said the recent survey of vape shops around the state shows that over 26 percent of e-cigarette shops sold to minors. In Anchorage, half of the vape shops that were surveyed sold e- cigarettes to youth. Convenience stores and other tobacco retailers that are accustomed to compliance checks sold to youth at a rate of 2.3 percent. She said it has been demonstrated over the years that the low rate of sales to youth is the result of the penalties. She said, "It's the suspension of the sales license endorsement that really makes the difference." The civil penalties the FDA provides are comparatively light. MS. NENON said the nicotine in electronic cigarettes is not the only concern. The CDC fact sheet states that in addition to nicotine, electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) aerosols contain heavy metals, ultra-fine particulate, and cancer-causing agents. They also contain propylene glycol, glycerin, or flavorings. Some of the manufacturers claim that the latter are safe because they meet the FDA definition of "generally recognized as safe." However, that designation does not apply to inhalation. CHAIR COGHILL held SB 15 in committee with public testimony open.