Iowa Senate Discussing Bills On Legal Age For Tobacco Purchases And Including Vaping In Smoke-Free Air Act

`Courtesy of Radio Iowa

Iowa Senators are considering bills to regulate the use and purchase of tobacco products. One bill changes Iowa law to follow the new federal standard that raised the age for buying tobacco products to 21. The other would add electronic cigarettes to Iowa’s Smoke-free Air Act, banning vaping in public places like restaurants, office buildings and schools. Chaney Yeast, a social worker from Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, says this is a good first step in addressing the national vaping epidemic amongst teens and youth. The owners of vape shops say Iowa’s Clean Air Act was designed to protect people from second-hand smoke. Seth Peters operates “The Vaped Ape” in Carroll.

Doug Struyk (like the word “STRIKE”), a lobbyist for the American Cancer Society, says the group supports the ban on vaping in public — but wants to see the bill go further and ban smoking pot in public, too.

The ban on vaping in public has cleared a three-member senate subcommittee. Senator Herman Quirmbach of Ames suggests vaping has created an enforcement nightmare.

Senator Mark Segebart of Vail says he’s been concerned about illnesses and deaths related to vaping.

The proposal is now eligible for debate in a senate committee. Another group of senators are working on legislation to make Iowa law match the federal change that moved the legal age for purchasing tobacco products to 21. The State of Iowa also stands to forfeit some federal grant money if it fails to raise the tobacco purchasing age to 21. A key senator says it’ll be a couple of weeks before the issue is debated in a senate committee.