When e-cigarettes came on the market, they were supposed to help smokers quit their unhealthy smoking habits. As an “aid” to quit smoking, they were not intended to become merely an alternate vice. But for many, switching from smoking to e-cigarettes has just been trading one addiction for another. A growing and booming industry, e-cigarettes and the e-liquid that they run on have been under-regulated for a long time — perhaps too long.
Indiana’s House Committee has finally moved forward with tougher e-liquid laws after an attempt at finding middle ground was not successful. The bill will rewrite the current vaping law by taking out the highly controversial security firm certification requirement that is currently Indiana’s law.
Senate Bill 1 will allow some of the original vaping laws to stand, such as the need for warning labels on e-cigarette products. E-cigarette companies still have to notify their users of the harmful nature of nicotine. The law also disallows people with felony backgrounds from being e-liquid manufacturers, and it requires that e-liquid manufacturers disclose all ingredients to both the state Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, as well as the Food and Drug Administration.
What it no longer contains, however, is the requirement that manufacturers who want to distribute and sell their products in Indiana gain a certificate from a security firm. Namely, manufacturers no longer need certification from Mulhaupt’s, Inc., a Lafayette-based company that has up until now been the state’s gatekeeper to e-liquid.
The previous laws in place gave an unfair advantage to only a few vaping manufacturers who were allowed to operate in the state. Only six companies were given certification, and the rest of the e-liquid competition had been forced out of the business altogether. Since the passage of the law, the FBI has investigated the practice and found that it is unconstitutional as it was written.
Senate Bill 1 has been revamped because it creates a monopoly due to the strict regulations in place. The original language was completely taken out of the legislation as it was struck down by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Those who were opponents of the original legislation fear that if Indiana doesn’t have strict vaping laws on the books, it might take the federal government too long to enact vaping laws, which could open the public up to harm.
There are many public safety concerns related to e-liquid that simply aren’t addressed at the federal level — at least not yet, which is why states like Indiana are trying to tackle the safety of the products sold within their state. The problem with Indiana’s vaping laws is not the strictness of the regulations, however; it was that the law limited who could sell their products in Indiana by giving license to sell their products only to certain manufacturers.
Representative trial lawyers have been battling over vaping laws since before enacting them. Some legislators believe that they are reacting too fast, while others think that they are moving too slowly. It isn’t just about who can license, but also things like how much nicotine is safe, how a manufacturer is mixing and creating compounds, and the child protection that bottles require.
The harmful nature of vape pens has been underestimated. It isn’t just that vape pens themselves can be dangerous if not manufactured correctly, which can lead to them exploding; there are also health risks that have been downplayed if not completely unexplained to the people who use e-liquid.
E-cigarettes were born out of a desire to help people quit smoking. The problem is that although many people have quit smoking cigarettes, they merely traded one unhealthy habit for another. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t understand the harmful nature of smoking, but the same is not true for e-cigarettes. As a new fad that is sweeping the nation and targeting a very young audience, flavoring nicotine as if it isn’t a carcinogen, not putting safety measures on the bottles themselves leading to children dying, and marketing them as something “cool” jeopardizes a whole new era of nicotine addicts.
Whether the Indiana laws gave certain manufacturers an unfair advantage may have been the issue for Senate Bill 1. What is not at issue is that states may have to step in and put safer measures in place, since the federal government appears to be dragging their feet about enacting vaping laws.