Oklahoma law prevents local communities from imposing any tobacco regulation stricter than state regulations. Efforts to allow greater local control of tobacco have gone nowhere in the Legislature. Now, lawmakers may further reduce local communities’ power by banning their ability to regulate another product: e-cigarettes.
House Bill 3104, by state Rep. Mike Jackson, R-Enid, would ban the sale of vaping products to those younger than 18. But the bill also declares, “No agency or other political subdivision of the state, including, but not limited to, municipalities, counties or any agency thereof, may adopt any order, ordinance, rule or regulation concerning the sale, purchase, distribution, advertising, sampling, promotion, display, possession, licensing, or taxation of tobacco products, alternative nicotine products or vapor products …”
Oklahoma is one of only two states that effectively ban local regulation of tobacco. Supporters of the policy claim a hodgepodge of local ordinances would stifle business activity, particularly at convenience stores. But there’s scant evidence for that proposition in states with local tobacco regulations. There’s no reason vaping requires similar, special treatment.
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