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South Dakota Could Be the Next State to Ban Vaping in Public Places

The South Dakota House of Representatives approved a bill on Monday to prohibit vaping in public and in most places of employment.

Currently, South Dakota law prohibits vaping on Department of Corrections property and in all state vehicles, and prohibits smoking tobacco or carrying lighted tobacco products in all enclosed public places and places of employment, with a violation constituting a petty offense. The proposed bill, HB 1209, would amend the definition of "smoking" to include the use of electronic smoking devices in addition to other tobacco products.

The first version of the modern e-cigarette was patented in 1965, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It replaced burning tobacco and paper with "heated, moist, flavored air" for the purpose of providing "a safe and harmless means for and method of smoking." A more recent innovation developed in 2003 by a Chinese pharmacist gained traction as a potential product to curb cigarette use or offer an alternative to cigarettes.

In the United States, e-cigarette sales have risen rapidly since 2007. Between 2011 and 2015, the prevalence of e-cigarette use among high schoolers increased from 1.5 percent to 16 percent. In December of 2018, the National Institute for Drug Abuse issued new data showing nearly 21 percent of high school seniors had vaped a nicotine product within the last 30 days. In response, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued an advisory warning urging local authorities to increase taxes on e-cigarettes and ban vaping indoors.

As of December of 2018, 12 states plus Washington, D.C., included e-cigarettes in the definition of smoking, thus prohibiting vaping in all areas where cigarette smoking is prohibited. While these areas vary slightly from state to state, most ban smoking and vaping in schools, hospitals, workplaces, and other indoor public places. Eighteen states have laws prohibiting or restricting vaping in schools, child care facilities, or vehicles when children are present. Nine states have no restrictions on vaping.

An abundance of research has shown how nicotine affects adolescent brain development and makes youth more prone to addiction and future drug abuse. A study published by the National Institutes of Health showed that smoking e-cigarettes indoors can involuntarily expose non-users to nicotine through secondhand smoke.

"We want to control use of [these] products," the South Dakota bill's Republican sponsor Representative Carl Perry told Keloland Media Group. The bill now heads to a hearing in the state Senate.