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Indiana Attorney General Proposes New Restrictions On E-Cigs

electronic cigarette

Photo: www.ecigclick.co.uk

House Public Policy Committee Chair Ed Clere says there’s been discussion about whether e-cigs should be included in the statewide smoking ban.

The Indiana Attorney General unveiled a proposal today that would include electronic cigarettes in Indiana’s statewide smoking ban, among other changes aimed at curbing the use of e-cigs by young people.

The proposed legislation would make the following changes to Indiana law:

  • Include e-cigarettes in Indiana’s statewide smoking ban
  • Tax e-cigarettes similarly to traditional tobacco products
  • Require e-liquid containers be sold in child-resistant packaging
  • Require “vape shops” that sell e-cigarettes to be licensed, which would give the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission more authority to cite businesses for violating existing state law, including selling the products to minors

“These products can be cheap, easy to get and effectively disguise drug use because ‘vaping’ produces no smoke or smell,” Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said in a statement. “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.”

More teenagers use e-cigarettes than traditional tobacco products, according to the 2014 Monitoring the Future survey released in December.

Before the attorney general’s announcement, House Public Policy Committee Chair Ed Clere, R-New Albany, expressed interest in a discussion about whether e-cigs should be included in the statewide smoking ban.

“Obviously e-cigs don’t have the tar and some of the other chemicals that are present in regular cigarettes, but I don’t know enough at this point about the science and I’m interested in looking at that and learning more,” Clere said.

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s Brianna Herndon, however said e-cigarettes are not a focus of her organization.

“We don’t want to get distracted from other tobacco control policies and other issues that we have around tobacco control here in Indiana,” Herndon said. “So while this certainly is an issue that we expect will come up, we want to continue to remind the legislators and the public that Indiana still has a serious tobacco problem.”

Herndon says the focus around e-cigarettes should encourage the federal government to more strongly regulate the product.

The FDA in April proposed extending its authority to regulate e-cigarettes similar to other tobacco products, but it has not issued a final ruling.

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  • moflicky

    I am sorely disappointed with Mr Zoeller. I expect this sort of thing with nanny state democrats, but the GOP is supposed to be for small business, lower taxes and personal responsibility. Vaping saved me from a 40+ year 3 pack a day habit and now he wants to make it as hard or harder to vape than to smoke? Shame.

  • Nate

    If you tax vapor products the same as cigarettes, you have removed one of the main incentives for people to switch to a 99% less harmful alternative. You are, in effect, promoting smoking and dissuading people from quitting.

    Moreover, this action will utterly destroy hundreds of small businesses, as people who don’t wish to pay a draconian tax on vapor products will simply make their purchases online instead of from a local vape shop.

    Finally, what justification is there for such a tax? Cigarettes are heavily taxed because of the (supposed) increased costs to the state created by tobacco-related illness. The use of vapor products creates no such costs.

    This has nothing to do with “public health.” This is a cash grab by greedy politicians, nothing more.

  • RightWingPooFlinger

    people in IL always claim people from Indiana are rubes and Cletuses. Zoeller’s proposal only underscores that point. Cater to fear and raise the taxes, while admitting to not knowing anything about it.

  • dd

    How much money AG gets from Master Settlement Agreement? Why this article doesn’t say that AG is the beneficent of cig sales?

  • Nate

    It’s also worth finding out whether Indiana is one of the states that floated bonds secured by their future MSA revenues (on the stupid and reckless assumption that those revenues wouldn’t go down for the foreseeable future). Many states did, and now they face the prospect of defaulting on their bond payments because too many people aren’t buying cigarettes anymore. New Jersey, for example, recently had to take $60 million out of their general fund in order to avoid such a default. It’s going to start happening in more and more states, and it’ll probably turn into a gigantic scandal when it becomes clear that all these state officials (including “public health” officials) were doing everything in their power to keep people buying cigarettes and dissuade them from quitting.

  • http://indianapublicmedia.org Indiana Public Media

    Here’s some basic information. Although we don’t expect it to answer all the questions, it should provide some insights.

    From the Indiana Law Blog:

    “Fortunately, Indiana does not have any outstanding “tobacco bonds” that could be downgraded as a result of the ruling. Still, Bond Buyer observes that “States that lose in the arbitration decisions will share in a reduction in next year’s settlement payments of about $642 million.,” but just how much Indiana will lose has not yet been formalized.”

    http://indianalawblog.com/archives/2013/10/ind_govt_state_79.html

    Here is one of our recent stories about the tobacco settlement:

    http://indianapublicmedia.org/news/indiana-settles-tobacco-settlement-dispute-68820/

    And here is more info on the MSA:

    http://publichealthlawcenter.org/topics/tobacco-control/tobacco-control-litigation/master-settlement-agreement

  • Ryan Rji Rji

    When smokers quit smoking, all of that lost tax revenue has to come from somewhere. The piggies want MORE! They always want more :) Ohm nom nom nom.

    You’re not allowed to quit smoking, your state government won’t have it. Internet retailers win, Indiana small business loses. Womp Womp

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