Some changes are coming to a relatively new, but growing industry.
Beginning July 1, a new law goes into effect that regulates the state’s production, purchasing and sales of the e-liquid used in vapor pens and e-cigarettes.
House Bill 1432 “defines ‘e-liquid’ as a substance that is intended to be to be vaporized and inhaled using a vapor pen.”
Authored by Rep. Kevin Mahan, R-Indianapolis, the law requires manufactures to hold a permit from the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission before bottling the product to sell to retailers or distributors.
Manufacturers must submit an application along with a $1,000 fee for a permit. The initial application has to include facility plans, a security firm service agreement and the payment. Permits will be valid for five years and will cost $500 to renew.
Manufacturers also must properly label e-liquid bottles and are limited to using only certain ingredients in production.
Consumers under age 18 won’t be allowed to buy e-liquids. Retailers will face a penalty if they are found to have knowingly sold e-liquid to a minor, sold e-liquid purchased from a manufacturer without a permit or sold e-liquid that has been tampered with or altered. Fines range from $200 to $1,000 and will be deposited into the Richard D. Doyle Youth Tobacco Education and Enforcement Fund.
“There are some vape shops that are very legitimate, they can tell you exactly what is in these liquids,” Mahan said. “We also know there are a lot of places that are mixing this stuff in their bathrooms and mixing it up and bottling it and selling it to people who don’t know what’s in it.”
Mahan said he wanted to change that here in Indiana.
Mirrissa Pike, an employee at US 40 Vapors in Plainfield, said she expects the law to both help and hurt Hoosier vape shops.
“The part that’s going to hurt is the fact that they’re trying to limit out of state sales,” said Pike. “We have one line right now that we carry that is manufactured here in the state. Everything except for that one liquid would have to go away.”
Mahan explained that vapor shops in Indiana would be allowed to buy from manufacturers who are out of state, as long as the manufacturing process adheres Indiana law.
The labels required for the products will list all included ingredients and the amount of nicotine in the liquid.
Pike said she supports “some regulations on the 18 and older and the childproof caps and the born-on dates.”
She said customers should know exactly what they’re buying and be able to have confidence in the product’s safety.
Pike said US 40 Vapors will continue to stock and sell e-liquids in compliance with the new law because there is a big market for e-cigarettes. But she said the smaller, newer stores could struggle. Pike’s store has been open for about a year.
Despite having issues with minors trying to buy e-cigarettes, Pike said there is a big misconception about younger adults buying the e-cigarettes for the nicotine.
“They’re doing it for the cloud effect and a lot of the kids that come in that have just turned 18 aren’t even buying liquid with the nicotine in it,” she said.
Mahan said he initially received some pushback for this law because of concerns from entrepreneurs on regulation, especially the anticipated cost of being in compliance with the law.
“The folks in the vaping industry were a pretty valuable resource to me in the end,” he said.
“The very legitimate entrepreneurs were very helpful along the way,” Mahan said. “Because they will admit what we were trying to do was a good thing.”
Amanda Creech is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students.