JAMES Magazine Online: House Study Committee to Examine Dangers of Vaping

Cindy Morley

Thursday, June 13th, 2024

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During the 2024 legislative session, a group of legislators led by state Rep. Houston Gaines, R-Athens, pushed for more restrictions on nicotine vape products sold in stores across the state. They cited concerns that there is currently no regulatory state body enforcing what is being sold in Georgia stores. Monday, Speaker Jon Burns, R-Newington, appointed Gaines to serve as the chairman of the House Study Committee on Safety and Consumer Protection of Nicotine Vapor Products.

Gaines authored House Bill 1260 last session that would have established the Georgia Nicotine Vapor Products Directory. The legislation passed the House 163-4 but did not receive a vote in the Senate.

However, House Resolution 1283 created a House study committee which will investigate all issues related to electronic cigarettes, e-liquids and other nicotine vapor products. Committee members are tasked with developing potential legislation to prevent consumer harm and safeguard the health and safety of individuals who use these products.

“Earlier this year, the House passed meaningful legislation to reign in the illegal and unregulated Chinese manufactured market of disposable vapor products that target young people across our state,” said Gaines. “In talking with parents, teachers, law enforcement and those working to address this challenge on the front lines, it’s become clear we have reached a tipping point of disposable vape products negatively impacting young Georgians. While we’ll continue to ensure access to legal smoking cessation and vape products, the Safety and Consumer Protection of Nicotine Vapor Products study committee will determine what steps are needed to crack down on illegal products harming our communities every day.”

House Bill 1260 – The Georgia Nicotine Vapor Products Directory Act — would have required the Georgia Agricultural Commissioner to make a list of what nicotine vape products can be sold in stores and penalize stores if they’re caught selling something not on the list.

Burns also appointed the following study committee members: Rep. Carolyn Hugley, D-Columbus, Rep. Mesha Mainor, R-Atlanta, Rep. Gary Richardson, R-Evans, Rep. Dale Washburn, R-Macon, and Rep. Alan Powell, R-Hartwell, ex-officio.

“Nicotine vapor products pose significant health risks, especially to our youth, with potential long-term consequences such as respiratory issues, cardiovascular problems and addiction,” said Hugley. “The establishment of the House Study Committee on Safety and Consumer Protection of Nicotine Vapor Products is essential to thoroughly investigate electronic cigarettes, e-liquids, and other nicotine vapor products. It is our responsibility to act now and address this growing public health concern.”