The Montana State Council recently tried to prevent local government from issuing a decree banning the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes, but was rejected by the State Senate. Bill 398, proposed by Senator Jason Elsworth, was rejected by 21-29, and then postponed indefinitely by 31 votes to 18.
Senator Carlie Boland, who opposed the bill, said the state was responding to the popularity of e-cigarettes and that many companies were making e-cigarettes for children. According to an article in Montana standards, Boland said it would be harmful to cancel the legislation banning children from smoking electronic cigarettes.
"It must be a society that works together to achieve this goal. We need to solve this problem, and it should start at the family and local level. " Boland said. Ellsworth argues that the use of e-cigarettes products is legal and should not limit their sales. He also said the owners of the e-cigarette store testified that local laws seriously damaged their business and that the store did not allow them to sell to minors.
"We should not make laws at the local level. Think about it. We have seen this. We have seen its impact and we have to come back here as an institution to constrain local governments that try to limit our freedom. " Ellsworth said.
Earlier in the meeting, r-hamilton Congressman Ron Marshall proposed a bill that would prohibit local governments or state public health and public services from enacting or continuing to develop regulations, decrees or restrictions related to electronic smoke products. The bill passed the house in February, but was later rejected in the Senate Committee on business, labor and economic affairs. Marshall is the co owner of an e-cigarette store
At the state level, the Ministry of public health and public services in Montana proposes to ban the use of seasoning e-cigarettes by 2020, because of concerns that the seasoning is directed at children. Elsworth, a Republican Party member who opposed the ban, eventually lifted the ban. Missoula has passed a ban on the use of incense based electronic smoke products, but has delayed its implementation until May.
The Elsworth bill should have provided that local governments could not enact an order prohibiting the sale of electronic tobacco products or nicotine substitutes. It does allow for the enactment of "reasonable" decrees or resolutions relating to the sale of electronic tobacco products, but there is no definition of reasonableness.