Georgia Bill Restricting Public Vaping Gets Final Pass

Georgian lawmakers on Tuesday approved the final passage of a law aimed at restricting the smoking of e-cigarettes in public spaces.

The House of Representatives voted 152 to 14 to pass Senate Bill 47, which would regulate vaping in the same way the state already regulates smoking. The bill goes to Governor Brian Kemp for signature or veto.

Georgia’s Smoke-Free Air Act of 2005 bans indoor smoking in many public places. However, some locations are exempt, including tobacconists, bars that only accept guests over the age of 18, and privately owned meeting rooms.

“It gives vaping the same status as smoking cigarettes,” said Sharon Cooper, chair of the House Health Committee, a Republican from Marietta. “It doesn’t expand anything. It just means that if you can’t smoke in an area, you can’t smoke there either.”

A person who breaks the law commits a misdemeanor and can be fined from $100 to $500.

The state Ministry of Health supports the measure. In 2019, the department reported that it had identified 42 cases of smoking-related illnesses in Georgia, including six deaths.