Although there are several important issues facing the General Assembly in the fall and winter, I am urging my colleagues to give priority to making sure minors can't purchase electronic cigarettes.

Earlier this year, I introduced Senate Bill 1055. My legislation would make it crystal clear to Pennsylvania residents and retailers that e-cigarettes should not be sold to anyone under the age of 18. Most Pennsylvanians don't realize that the laws that apply to the sale of traditional cigarettes do not apply to electronic cigarettes. My legislation would fix that.

As electronic cigarettes have grown in popularity, particularly among individuals trying to switch from regular cigarettes, I worked on this legislation to make sure that minors cannot get their hands on this product. Right now, many retailers might not know how to monitor and regulate the purchase of e-cigarettes at their stores. This legislation is direct and to the point so that there can be no ambiguity. This product should be in adult hands only.

Electronic cigarettes could prove to be a useful tool for adult smokers to wean themselves off tobacco use. While the Food and Drug Administration is still considering regulations on e-cigarettes, more than half of states have already outlawed sales to minors. Pennsylvania should quickly join them in order to prevent use of any nicotine products among our children.

I urge Pennsylvanians to join with me and call on their local state senators to move Senate Bill 1055 and vote to protect Pennsylvania children.

SEN. TIM SOLOBAY

D-Washington County