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House committee passes e-liquid regulations

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By Alec Gray

Indiana is one step closer to placing regulations on e-liquids used in electronic cigarettes and vapor pens after a House committee passed a bill on Wednesday, sending it to the full chamber for debate.

The vote came one day after the committee heard testimony from retailers who said the rules were meant for “bad players” but would be imposed on everyone, even those that already regulate themselves. But supporters say state regulation is important because there is currently no Federal Drug Administration oversight of vapor products.

The bill regulates the manufacturing, sale, possession, and use of e-liquids and prohibits their use by minors. It also requires e-liquid bottles to have labels that list all ingredients as well as a batch code and limits the ingredients manufacturers can use.

The bill requires retailers to have a retail tobacco certificate – a $5,000 expense the first year with a $1,000 renewal every five years.

Rep. Vanessa Summers, D-Indianapolis, said that problems raised by retailers the day before were not addressed in any amendments considered Wednesday.

“I think I’m a little disappointed today because I thought we were going to address the issues that we thought were bad in the bill or that could be negotiated,” Summers said. “We’re not going to deal with those and everyone thinks that’s okay except me.”

Summers said she felt some provisions of the bill could be approached in a different way to benefit retailers instead of harming them. She said finding a different way to handle the batch number so retailers don’t have to create and store extra bottles of each e-liquid would help the situation.

Retailers said on Tuesday that if such regulations stood, many of the small businesses would be forced to close.

Before the vote, Rep. Tom Dermody, R-LaPorte, said that problems and issues will continue to come up in the future as information about e-cigarettes and e-liquids is discovered.

“I think the important thing is, no matter what happens today, no matter whose bill we heard or hear, we’re going to be back because this is an ever developing market and a growing industry so please don’t think this one bill will be the be all end all for everything,” Dermody said.

Rep. Ed Clere, R-New Albany, voted against the bill after he said he drafted several amendments that Dermody didn’t want to consider.

“There were a number of amendments that I would have proposed to this bill,” Clere said. “If you like overly restrictive regulation and a bill that focuses on markets and creating and establishing markets and picking winners and losers, then this is a great bill.”

Clere also said the bill doesn’t address some potentially harmful threats to public health.

“I had hoped that we would have an opportunity here to discuss some of the health issues around the e-cigarettes and the focus has been narrowed to e-liquids and we’re not even talking about the entire e-cigarette threat,” Clere said.

House Bill 1432 passed the committee 9-2 and will move onto the House floor.

Alec Gray is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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