In Thursday’s House session, one bill on third reading and two bills mentioned in a speech dealt with the health and well-being of West Virginia’s children.
H.B. 4237 would protect the health of children from new products alternative to the traditional sources of tobacco.
These new products include electronic cigarettes and cigars and dissolving products such as toothpicks, gum and lozenges.
This bill simply makes clear it’s illegal for them to sell those to minors.
The lead sponsor of the bill, Delegate Tiffany Lawrence said that the bill will counter tobacco company’s attempts to market toward children.
“West Virginia ranks highest in tobacco users across the country and has one of the highest rates of usage among our young people,” Lawrence said. “Although electronic cigarettes aren’t traditional tobacco products as we think of them, the refillable cartridges that are presented on these devices can hold up to as much nicotine as two packs of cigarettes. The marketers of these products directly target our children every single day by offering flavors that we’ve seen like bubblegum, chocolate and cherry.”
The bill passed unanimously and moves on to the Senate.
“Right now if a monster approaches a child for sex and that child in some way refuses, the only thing that we can charge that person with under our law is solicitation and most of the times you can plea bargain that down,” Hunt said.
The bills would increase the offense to a felony. Delegate Hunt introduced similar bills in the previous session but they did go through supposedly because increasing the penalty increases the cost.
The bills are currently in the Judiciary Committee.