Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear ceremonially signed a bill into law Monday that prohibits the sale of all types of electronic cigarettes to minors. Kentucky's public health commissioner sees the new law as a step in the right direction, but not enough.
Dr. Stephanie Mayfield hopes a statewide ban on smoking in public places clears the General Assembly next year and she wants e-cigs to be included.
"We don't know what's in them. We do know if it's nicotine, that's addictive," says Mayfield. "We know the effects of tobacco and smoke, and we know without it being regulated and exactly what's in it, we don't know what you're breathing and exposing others to."
Following a speech at WKU last week, Mayfield said a comprehensive smoke-free law would be the Department of Public Health’s chief legislative priority next year.
This year’s legislation included e-cigarettes, though amendments were added to exempt them.
E-cig supporters argue that the products allow users to decrease the amount of nicotine to a point where they may eventually quit smoking altogether. They also say the chemicals in e-cigs are safer than traditional cigarettes.