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Iowa Lawmakers Advance Vaping Restrictions

vaping subcommittee
Katarina Sostaric
Sens. Herman Quirmbach, Mark Segebart and Craig Johnson discuss vaping restrictions at the Iowa Capitol on Tuesday.

Iowa lawmakers advanced a proposal Tuesday to ban vaping in restaurants, bars, and other public places where smoking is prohibited.

Amy McCoy is a lobbyist for the Iowa Department of Public Health, which proposed adding vaping to the state’s Smokefree Air Act.

“We’re still very concerned about what this means for the individuals who are exposed to the vapors,” McCoy said. “We would like to see more science happen on that before we see children and elderly and others who are immune compromised exposed. So this was put forward in an effort to protect public health.”

Some health groups support the bill as is, while others say it should be stricter.

But vape shop owners are opposed to the proposal, saying it would hurt their business.

“Anytime you compare cigarette smoke with vapor smoke, there’s a disconnect,” said Seth Peters, who owns a vape shop in Carroll. “There’s no science indicating that vapor causes anywhere near the damage of cigarette smoke.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaping can expose bystanders to harmful substances.

The bill advanced in the Iowa Senate with bipartisan support Tuesday.

Senators also advanced a bill to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21. That was already done at the federal level, and Iowa lawmakers will likely change state law to match it.

Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter