Addressing safety concerns regarding e-liquids

Posted by: Courtney Scott  | Friday, April 10, 2015

At the outset of this legislative session, one of my personal priorities was to review and further explore the topic of electronic cigarettes. As a respiratory therapist, it troubles me that this product continues to grow in popularity despite our relatively limited knowledge of its effects. In addition, as a grandfather, I am even more concerned by the popularity of this product and the impact that it could have on our youth.

With just a couple of weeks until session adjourns, I am pleased to see a bill, which I co-authored to regulate e-liquids, moving further and further through the legislative process. In fact, it has now been passed by both the House and the Senate with just a few details left to iron out.

If you are not familiar with e-liquids, they are the fluid that fuels e-cigarettes. In short, it is what provides the nicotine solution and the flavoring; flavoring which I would argue, specifically targets young Hoosiers. Current Indiana Code does not address e-liquids, and there are no laws prohibiting the sale of e-liquids to minors. However, according to the American Association of Poison Control, one teaspoon of liquid nicotine could be lethal to a child and smaller amounts can cause severe illness.  

As research continues to advance and we are more aware of the problems caused by nicotine, it is imperative that we regulate any new products that are released containing this addictive substance. As it currently stands, House Bill (HB) 1432 works to address these concerns in a variety of ways.

For example, the bill requires a manufacturer of e-liquids to obtain a permit from the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission (ATC). It also limits the ingredients that can be used in making e-liquids and requires a manufacturing facility to use a child proof cap, provide separate designations for products that contain nicotine and include a list of active ingredients on the label.  

Sellers must also maintain a clean and sanitized environment for mixing, bottling and packaging e-liquids that is consistent with Indiana standards for commercial kitchens. All e-liquid inventory existing prior to July 1 would have to be sold or removed from retail by July 1, 2016, if it was not manufactured, mixed, bottled, packaged, stored or sold in compliance with these standards.

However, perhaps the most important aspect of this bill is a provision making it a Class C infraction for a retailer who knowingly sells e-liquid to a minor, sells e-liquid purchased from a manufacturer that does not have a permit or sells e-liquid that has been altered or tampered with.

The purpose of this legislation is to protect Hoosier consumers, particularly our children, in the absence of federal regulations. HB 1432 is a step in the right direction to keep liquid nicotine out of the hands of minors without significantly burdening those adults who choose to purchase it legally.

When it comes to e-liquids, it is imperative that we are proactive, and I believe this legislation sends a strong and important message that Indiana will not tolerate potentially dangerous products in the hands of our youth.

To learn more about this legislation, please visit iga.in.gov.

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