US: Georgia Passes Bill Restricting Vaping in Public Spaces

Last week Georgia lawmakers passed Senate Bill 47, which extend smoking regulations set in place by Georgia's 2005 Smoke-Free Air Act to include vaping.

The state House voted 152-14, passing the bill which will now proceed to Gov. Brian Kemp to be signed or vetoed. The measure would restrict vaping in public spaces, with the exception of specific spaces such as tobacco stores, bars that only allow the admission of adults, as well as privately owned convention rooms.

Anyone caught violating the new law would face a fine of between $100 and $500. “A person smoking in violation of the law will be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not less than $100 and not more than $500,” states the Smoke-Free Air Act. Bill sponsor republican Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, said that vapour and residue from vaping products can worsen respiratory conditions such as asthma.

“They’ve got aerosol in them that has ultra fine particles and low levels of toxins that have been known to cause cancer,” said Hufstetler. “They can certainly exacerbate respiratory conditions like asthma and constrict arteries and have some health risk, and so people shouldn’t be expected to have to breathe these in, in a public space.”

A 7% tax on vapes
In 2021 Georgia set in place House Bill 375 which imposed a 7% tax on vaping products and raised the age limit to purchase both tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21. The measure had passed overwhelmingly in both the House and Senate, and the excise tax placed on vaping products is believed to generate approximately $4.3 billion each year.