The Texas Senate passed a bill banning the sale of e-cigarettes to minors by a 27–3 vote Tuesday.
E-cigarettes are battery or electronically-powered cigarettes that can be used to vaporize nicotine products for consumption.
“What this bill does is it takes e-cigarettes and puts them in the same category as we do tobacco cigarettes,” Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen), primary author of the bill, said.
Hinojosa said there is an increasing number of adolescents using e-cigarettes.
“E-cigarettes are becoming very popular in our school districts, so we now have students are using e-cigarettes all over school grounds including in restaurants and in playgrounds,” Hinojosa said.
According to a 2014 study conducted by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, about 17 percent of 12th-grade students have used e-cigarettes. The 30-day study found that 14.2 percent of 12th-graders felt e-cigarettes were harmful to their health.
Hinojosa said he believes e-cigarette use by adolescents will lead to cigarette addiction as adults.
“I call them training devices,” Hinojosa said.
Hinojosa motioned to expedite the bill to its final reading.