The Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill aimed at cracking down on e-cigarettes and vaping, but it seems unlikely that it will get the same overwhelming support in the House of Representatives.
Sen. Heather Carter’s strike-everything amendment to House Bill 2357 would classify vapor products as tobacco products. Vapor products would be added to the Smoke-Free Arizona Act, making them subject to the same restrictions on public use as cigarettes and other tobacco products.
In order to apply the voter-approved Smoke-Free Arizona Act to e-cigarettes, the bill needs a three-fourths vote in each chamber of the legislature. HB2357 easily cleared that hurdle without debate in the Senate, where it passed 29-0. However, Carter doesn’t expect a unanimous vote in the House, where her seatmates, Reps. John Allen and Nancy Barto, are opposed to the bill.
Allen is backing a different vaping bill, one supported by the industry. His strike-everything amendment to Senate Bill 1147 would raise the age limit to purchase tobacco and vapor products to 21 years old, but would also exempt tobacco and vapor products from regulation by cities and counties.
Carter opposes the bill because of the state preemption provision, while the vaping industry opposes her bill because it classifies their products as tobacco. A proposed floor amendment to Allen’s bill would allow cities and counties to continue imposing zoning regulations dictating where vape shops can be located.
Carter, R-Cave Creek, said she definitely has the votes to pass HB2357 in the House, and is “fairly confident” she has the 45 votes she needs to clear the three-fourths hurdle set by the Voter Protection Act, which restricts the legislature’s ability to amend voter-approved laws.
“The challenge becomes, what’s the path to get it up for a vote? And that’s what I’ll be working on,” Carter said.
SB1147 was originally scheduled for a voice vote in the House on Monday. But Allen, R-Phoenix, asked that it be pulled from the calendar, saying he wasn’t prepared yet for the vote. He said it will be back on the House’s agenda on Thursday.