Bill aimed at banning dissolvable tobacco dies in committee..(video)

It didn’t get very far, but a bill proposed at the Statehouse Monday raises an issue most of us haven’t heard of — dissolvable tobacco.

But Sen. Elliot Werk wants to be proactive and ban the products before they’re even allowed to be sold.

The products in question come in the forms of sticks, like toothpicks, and dissolvable chews like mints.

They aren’t sold in Idaho yet but they’re being test marketed in Portland.

Tobacco companies say they’re designed for adult use only.

But the Boise Democrat disagrees and wants the products banned.

Werk says the products are designed with one thing in mind — to get kids addicted to nicotine and become life-long smokers.

“A couple of years the Legislature banned inhalable alcohol before it came to Idaho because we had heard about the dangers. We know this is coming toward us. We know this is a product being geared toward children, and I’d like to see it not come to Idaho at all,” said Werk.

Lobbyists from Reynolds Tobacco were at the Statehouse arguing that lawmakers intentionally distort the nature of the products. They say dissolvable or smokeless tobacco allows smokers to enjoy tobacco without bothering others.

They say there is no second-hand smoke, no spitting and no littering.

Werk introduced his bill to ban the products in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee Monday.

An Idaho senator whose husband is a tobacco-company lobbyist helped snuff out the bill.

Sen. Melinda Smyser, a Parma Republican, changed her mind after members of the committee voted 5-4 for the bill.

With Smyser’s switch, the bill failed.

She had noted a possible conflict of interest earlier. Her husband, Skip Smyser, lobbies for Altria Group Inc., maker of Marlboro cigarettes and Skoal smokeless tobacco.


source: Associated Press

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