Lawmakers Could Ban Stores from Selling E-Cigarettes to Minors

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- Some view e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, but Kentucky lawmakers are pushing a law that would keep them out of the hands of minors.

"Seems healthier. I'm not coughing as much. I've cut back from two and a half packs of cigarettes daily -- and I've smoked for 36 years -- but I've actually cut down to less than a pack a day," said Gina Zais, an e-cigarette user.

The majority of electronic cigarette companies market to a traditional tobacco-smoking audience -- those over the age of 18.

"I think it's a wonderful product for someone like me who wants to quit smoking. I just need a little help. I don' think it's good for our kids, absolutely not," Zais said.

However, some minors have gotten their hands on them.

"I'll bet you at some of the gas stations that sell these things. I'd be willing to bet that kids can go in and buy them there," explained Tony Trego, the owner of eCig Source stores in Western Kentucky.

That's why the state House and Senate worked out a compromise with Gov. Steve Beshear through a bill that would make it illegal for people to sell the vapor products to minors and fine the businesses and minors that break the law.

"Minors should not be allowed to purchase those no more than cigarettes or alcohol. They still contain nicotine, which is bad, it's addictive," Zais said.

eCig Source has never sold to minors for that reason.

"Nicotine is still an addictive substance. We never felt like anybody under 18 should be making that decision for themselves, whether or not they want to use an addictive substance," Trego said.

WBKO spoke with several other e-cigarette users today, and most said they hoped the bill becomes law.

Lawmakers are hoping to have a final version of the bill go to the governor soon, and he says he looks forward to signing it.

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