Fight over e-cigarettes heats up at Oklahoma Capitol

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- With more people turning to smoke-free, electronic cigarettes to help quit smoking, a new industry is blossoming across Oklahoma with mom-and-pop stores that sell "vapor" products that use a heating element to convert nicotine into an inhalable water vapor.

But many of these small businesses fear big tobacco companies are trying to cut them out of this growing market and have found themselves engaged in a political fight at the state Capitol.

A bill introduced earlier this session to restrict youth access to the products and limit taxes to 5 cents per unit was defeated in a House committee, but has been resurrected by its author in the Senate.

The latest version defines e-cigarettes as "tobacco products," a move fiercely opposed by the e-cigarette industry.

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