On April 21, 2010 the New Hampshire Senate unanimously voted to pass HB1541, to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors. Representative Rich DiPentima of Portsmouth was the prime sponsor of this bill to amend current NH youth tobacco access laws to extend to and include the liquid nicotine in the electronic smoking device cartridges. Members of the New Hampshire Youth Network, a newly organized program of Breathe New Hampshire, were in attendance. They watched from the gallery as their first advocacy campaign ended with a legislative victory. From the Senate floor, Senator Hassan recognized and thanked the youth for their efforts.
“This bill makes good sense,” said Daniel Fortin, Breathe New Hampshire’s President and CEO. “We know that nicotine is a highly addictive substance and this is just one more way to attract and addict youth. We need to do all that we can to keep electronic cigarettes out of their hands.”
Breathe New Hampshire was first made aware of electronic cigarettes by members of our youth network. After some research, it became apparent that a new nicotine delivery device was on the market and could be bought and used by anyone, including youth. The youth network voted to take this issue on as their first legislative campaign. Since that time, they have worked with Breathe New Hampshire to educate the public and our legislators about electronic cigarettes. They testified at the House and the Senate, wrote letters, created signs, made phone calls and posted videos to YouTube. Breathe New Hampshire and our New Hampshire Youth Network led the effort to prevent the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors.
At the time, electronic cigarettes looked like tobacco cigarettes, or larger, were battery operated and used mixtures of liquid nicotine contained in separate cartridges. The device heated up, producing an aerosol inhaled by the user. Because electronic cigarettes were a new product that did not use tobacco, they were unregulated when they first arrived on the market.
Today, newer products look nothing like traditional cigarettes. It is more common to have small refillable devices and an endless variety of flavors. These newer products are being directly marketed to youth. E-cigarettes or "vaping" is the latest trend in teen nicotine addiction. These products, relatively new to the market, have spread rapidly among youth. Breathe NH is working diligently in many areas to help prevent another epidemic of nicotine addiction and smoking through advocacy and education.