The Texas E-Cigarette and Vaping Association (TEVA) is the united voice of the vaping industry and its various technologies. TEVA advocates on behalf of manufacturers, distributors, retailers and individuals while also providing fair, accurate, and research-based information to the public. TEVA endeavors to ensure that all vapor products in Texas are manufactured, distributed and consumed in a manner that respects the health and safety interests of the state. While we wholeheartedly agree that vapor products should be kept out of the hands of minors, passage of Senate Bill 97 in its present form will lead to unnecessary hardships for the vaping industry and adult users of vapor products. These unintended consequences will make it more difficult for current smokers to quit smoking, which will negatively impact the health of all Texans. Accordingly, we respectfully request that you vote NO on S.B. 97 by Senator Hinojosa, until the following changes are made:
- The bill contains advertising restrictions that likely violate the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. See Lorillard Tobacco Co. v. Reilly (2001). This provision should be removed.
- Section 14 of the bill allows local governmental entities to ban the sale and use of or otherwise regulate vaping products. The state should have sole authority to regulate these products. Otherwise, we’ll end up with a hodgepodge of regulations that will stifle the growth of the industry.
- Section 15 of the bill requires the Department of Health to develop plans to decrease the use of ecigarettes. There are still 45 million cigarette smokers in the U.S. and statistics show that 31% of smokers who try vaping products quit smoking within 6 months. The state of Texas should NOT discourage the use of a product that is decreasing disease and health care costs to the state. Similarly, unnecessary requirements related to sales for delivery contained in Section 36 will make it harder for smokers to transition to smoke-free alternatives and should be removed.
- The term “e-cigarette” should be replaced with the term “nicotine product,” which is inclusive of all vapor delivery systems and moves away from the word “cigarette.” Vaping products are not tobacco products and the use of the word cigarette confuses that fact.
- Section 37 of the committee substitute prohibits the use of vaping products in public places. This of course makes sense for tobacco products given the abundant data regarding the harmfulness of second hand smoke. The vapor emitted from vaping products, however, has never been proven harmful to anyone.