Georgia Senate May Classify Vaping as a Misdemeanor

Recently introduced Senate Bill 47 would classify vaping in designated restricted spaces a misdemeanor punishable through fines.

The state Senate Health and Human Services Committee met last week to discuss the proposed measure. Senate Bill 47 would basically extend the current Smoke-Free Air Act of 2005, which regulates tobacco products, to include vaping products.

“A person smoking in violation of the law will be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not less than $100 and not more than $500,” states the Smoke-Free Air Act. Bill sponsor republican Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, said that vapour and residue from vaping products can worsen respiratory conditions such as asthma.

“They’ve got aerosol in them that has ultra fine particles and low levels of toxins that have been known to cause cancer,” said Hufstetler. “They can certainly exacerbate respiratory conditions like asthma and constrict arteries and have some health risk, and so people shouldn’t be expected to have to breathe these in, in a public space.”

Tobacco age limit set in 2021
In 2021 Georgia set in place House Bill 375 which imposed a 7% tax on vaping products and raised the age limit to purchase both tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21. The measure had passed overwhelmingly in both the House and Senate, and the excise tax placed on vaping products is believed to generate approximately $4.3 billion each year.

In line with this bill, anyone under 21 caught with a vaping device, will have their e-cigarette confiscated and be punished with a fine or community service. When a device is confiscated, it becomes the property of the state and is destroyed. “I have a cabinet just absolutely full of these devices that I’ve taken from these kids,” said Walker County Sheriff Deputy Bruce Coker. If the punishment is not fulfilled, students are to have their driving licence suspended.”