Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and the Indiana legislature are working closely to pass legislation that would increase state regulation of electronic cigarettes and vaping products.
In early January 2015, Attorney General Zoeller, State Representatives Ed Clere and Charlie Brown, and State Senator Patricia Miller announced a plan to author legislation on a bipartisan basis during the 2015 legislative session aimed at curbing the “use of electronic cigarettes by Indiana’s youth.”
The proposed legislation would include the following provisions:
- Requiring “vape shops” that sell e-cigarettes to be licensed, giving the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission more authority to cite for violations of law, including selling the products to minors.
- Taxing e-cigarettes similarly to traditional tobacco products.
- Including e-cigarettes in Indiana’s statewide smoking ban.
- Requiring that e-liquid containers be sold in child-resistant packaging.
According to Attorney General Zoeller, “E-cigarettes have emerged as the latest drug-delivery device, and I only expect their use among teens to rise as users experiment with ‘vaping’ other dangerous or illegal substances.” The Attorney General further stated, “My goal is to get ahead of the curve unlike what happened with traditional tobacco products, and implement tools to reduce access to youth before we see more kids addicted to nicotine.”
Although the legislative session commenced on January 6, it does not appear the Attorney General’s bill has been introduced.
It should be noted that the Attorney General and the Senator and Representatives mentioned above are not the only Hoosiers looking to tax and regulate the electronic cigarette industry in 2015. In the opening days of the legislative session, 3 separate bills have been introduced at the Indiana state house.
State Senator Carlin Yoder introduced Senate Bill 539 which would require a manufacturer that manufactures, bottles, or stores e-liquid to have a permit issued by the alcohol and tobacco commission. The legislation also would prohibit a retailer from selling e-liquid: (1) to a minor; (2) that is purchased from a manufacturer that does not have a permit; or (3) that has been altered or tampered with.
State Senator Brandt Hershman introduced Senate Bill 384 which would impose a tax on electronic cigarettes at a rate of $0.0083 per milligram of nicotine in the consumable product. Finally, Representative Clyde Kersey introduced House Bill 1169 which would add the use of electronic cigarettes to the definition of “smoking” for the purposes of the laws that prohibit smoking in certain places.
Continue to follow the Tobacco Law Blog for further updates on this and other news in the tobacco industry.