VERMONT - If you turn back the clock 70 years, smoking was a fashion statement. Today, the word carries a whole host of negative connotations; from perception to personal health.
During this legislative session, the Vermont House proposed a bill that would raise the state's smoking age to 21 years old. This move came after the rise of electronic cigarettes, which have been pegged as a 'healthy alternative' to traditional smoking.
The bill was aimed at preventing electronic cigarettes from being used in the same places where traditional tobacco products are banned.
There has been mixed reactions throught the community, with some seeing the positives, and some the negatives.
"You can enlist in the army and you can die for your country at the age of 18," said Cam Davis, a Lyndon State student. "You're going to tell a person who wants to relieve their stress--and they've been smoking cigs since they were 14--that they can't smoke a cigarette all of a sudden, but they can serve their country?"
On the other hand, Substance Prevention Director Rose Sheehan from the Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital ould take a toll on younger bodies.
"Our brains are still growing up until our early twenties," says Sheehan. "Because of that, when you use chemicals, you can get addicted much faster."
The bill was read read for a third time yesterday on the House floor, and the vote ended in a very rare tie. House speaker Shap Smith had the opportunity to break the 71-71 tie, but chose not to, citing the bill did not get reviewed by a House committee.
"It's just not going to work, in my opinion. It's just not going to be something they're going to be able to push hard enough," said Davis.