A ceremonial bill signing was held this week in Nashville where Governor Bill Lee marked the enactment of a new law prohibiting the use of vapor products in certain areas where children are often present. The legislation, sponsored by Senator Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga) and Rep. Dan Howell (R-Georgetown), expands the definition of vapor products to include visible or non-visible vapors and the substances used to fill a vapor cartridge.
“This legislation is a step in the right direction,” said Senator Gardenhire. “The use of these products has grown dramatically over the past several years and has been linked to many heartbreaking stories regarding their impact on a user’s health. Especially concerning is the growing number of youth who use them. This legislation takes steps, as we try to get ahead of the curve of national legislative efforts, to keep these products out of areas frequented by children, including our schools.”
“I am pleased the governor has signed this legislation because it allows us to begin addressing a dangerous issue impacting our children,” said Rep. Dan Howell. “We have all heard about the growing risks and concerns related to e-cigarettes and vaping, and we must do our part to curb this serious health threat for our current and future Tennesseans.”
Senator Gardenhire said the idea for the bill originated with Bradley County School Director Linda Cash who talked about the problem with local lawmakers at a Bradley County Legislative Delegation meeting. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, more high school students use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes. The use of e-cigarettes is higher among high school students than adults.
Presently, the Children’s Act for Clean Indoor Air prohibits smoking in locations in which children are frequently located like child care centers, group care homes, health care facilities, museums, and public and private schools. The new law amends the act to include vapor products, while extending the distance in which any adult school staff member may smoke away from any entrance to school building on school grounds from 50 to 100 feet.
Bradley County School Board Chairman Troy Weathers was also present for the ceremonial signing event.