By James Anderson, Associated Press
(AP) — Cannabis advocates are watching closely as Colorado lawmakers consider limits on where e-cigarettes can be used in an effort to combat rising teen use of nicotine-containing vaping devices.
A bipartisan bill getting its first hearing Wednesday would add electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices to the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, which restricts tobacco use at the workplace and in many public spaces. E-cigarettes heat a nicotine solution into a vapor that’s inhaled.
Medical marijuana advocates are concerned expanding the law would unintentionally impact patients who are vaping prescription marijuana — for example, in apartments where potential vaping bans could be adopted.
The bill, as drafted, currently affects “nicotine or any other substance intended for human consumption.”
The Colorado bill would ban the use of electronic smoking devices in many public spaces and workplaces. It would eliminate designated hotel smoking rooms and smoking areas at retirement homes, public housing and assisted living facilities. It also would ban outdoor smoking within 25 feet (7.5 meters) of entryways, as opposed to the current 15 feet (4.5 meters).
“We want to stop e-cigs and vaping as a narrative experience for teens,” said Democratic Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet. “They see it out there: If it happens inside the restaurant, if it happens inside the airport, the subliminal message to teens is that vaping must be safe.”
Some marijuana activists want cannabis exempted from the list of vaping substances that are included in any new restrictions. They argue it would discriminate against medical marijuana users who are treating chronic pain, PTSD and other conditions.
Public marijuana consumption already is banned, but this bill would “update language that could make it tougher for medical marijuana patients to comply with the law.”
AP Photo/Ed Andrieski