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Panhandle delegates tout success of their e-cig bill

Tiffany Lawrence
Tiffany Lawrence

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. – Delegate Tiffany Lawrence couldn’t forget the tales she heard about area youngsters and their increasing use of e-cigarettes, right down to principals in Jefferson County who spoke with frustration about students bringing them to high school.

In another instance, a parent recalled when a 13-year-old boy pulled out an e-cig and talked about having bought it himself, she said.

“He was just totally shocked about how easy it was for a young person to buy them,” Lawrence said with a sigh.

But the facts were also alarming, since research showed that West Virginia was one of the last few states not regulating the sale of e-cigs to minors or their use on school property, she said.

As a result, Lawrence, D-Jefferson, took her concerns to Charleston, where she was the lead sponsor – joined by Eastern Panhandle delegates Jason Barrett and Stephen Skinner – on a successful bill that restricts the sale and use of e-cigs to anyone who isn’t at least 18 years old.

House Bill 4237 bans minor use and access to e-cigs and alternative nicotine products, the same way children under the age of 18 are prohibited from buying and using tobacco products, she said.

The House of Delegates unanimously passed the bill in February, and it was approved by the full legislature March 8, the last day of the 2014 session, Lawrence said.

“Prior to this, there were no laws on the books to curtail any type of e-cig consumption or use in schools,” she said.

“This is something that I feel very strongly about. And I was very pleased with this outcome, because the most important thing is to see these out of the hands of children,” Lawrence said…

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