Georgia bill restricting vaping in public gets final passage

Someone holds a personal vaporizer with a refillable glass tank filled with e-liquid. (John Abbate / Contributor)

ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia lawmakers gave final passage Tuesday to a bill that would restrict vaping in public spaces.

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

Georgia's 2005 Smoke-Free Air Act says that people can't smoke indoors in many public places, although it excludes some places including tobacco stores, bars that only admit patrons older than 18, and privately owned convention rooms.

"It puts vaping on the same status as smoking cigarettes," said House Public Health Committee Chairman Sharon Cooper, a Marietta Republican. "It doesn't expand anything. It just says if you can't smoke in an area, you can't vape in an area."

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

The state Department of Public Health is supporting the measure. In 2019, the department reported it had identified 42 cases of vaping-associated illness in Georgia, including six deaths.