MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

April 30, 2013

Battles rage over tobacco legislation

(Continued)

Meanwhile, a measure already approved by the Legislature and sent to Fallin would designate all state-owned buildings and property as nonsmoking. Fallin, who already put a similar ban in place through an executive order, is expected to sign the bill, which would further allow county or municipal governments to designate buildings and properties as nonsmoking.

Another tobacco-related measure sponsored by Johnson, one of the top recipients of tobacco-lobbyist money in the Oklahoma Legislature, targets electronic cigarettes or "vapor products" that use a heating element to convert nicotine into an inhalable water vapor.

The bill is endorsed by two of the nation's largest tobacco companies, but fiercely opposed by the self-described "vapor community" because it would define vapor products as "tobacco products" under state law. Manufacturers who currently market and sell vapor products and remit sales taxes would instead be required to pay excise taxes and acquire separate licenses to sell tobacco products.

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