Iowa AG wants restrictions on sale of e-cigarettes
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - Iowa lawmakers should ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors and address how the product is taxed, Attorney General Tom Miller said Monday.
Miller said during a news conference that he wants the ban on electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, to be added to the Iowa Smokefree Air Act, the state's indoor smoking ban. He also wants to determine if the product should have a higher state sales tax rate.
"Over the past several years e-cigarettes have developed technologically, and they have grown quickly in popularity," Miller said in a statement. "Our state laws, regulations and policies don't address these products, and I think it's time for the legislature to begin the conversation."
E-cigarettes are nicotine-infused vapor inhalers that are battery operated. Miller said there's no state or federal age restriction to prevent their sale to children.
"I am not calling for a ban on e-cigarettes, but I am calling on state lawmakers to stop allowing their sales to minors," he continued in his statement.
Miller also said e-cigarettes are not addressed in the state's indoor smoking ban, which was passed in 2008. The law prohibits smoking in almost all public places and enclosed areas within places of employment, as well as some outdoor areas. Miller noted that four states - Arkansas, New Jersey, North Dakota and Utah - have included e-cigarettes in their indoor smoking bans.
Miller also wants to address e-cigarettes' standard 6 percent state sales tax rate. Iowa's tax on cigarettes is $1.36 per package of 20 and $1.70 per package of 25. Other tobacco products are taxed at 50 percent of wholesale.
Miller is one of dozens of state officials around the country who signed a letter in September to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration urging officials to regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products under the Tobacco Control Act.