TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – A senate committee has narrowly approved a bill regulating e-liquids, commonly used in vaping pens and e-cigarettes.
WISH-TV 8’s sister station WTHI News reported the goal is to crack down on the rapidly growing use of e-cigarettes by teens, but opponents argue the restrictions go too far.
The “No One under 18 Allowed” sign that greets you at Smoke N Peace in Terre Haute is proof that local stores are already making strides to comply with what could be a future of strict regulations on e-cigarettes.
“We won’t sell anything e-cigarette related, even if it doesn’t have nicotine in it, to anyone under 18,” said Grant Ford, with Smoke N Peace.
Among prohibiting sales to minors, childproof caps are already standard practices in the industry.
“All of ours have that, and that’s why we went with actual name brands instead of making our own,” said Ford.
For shops the problem lies in the newly proposed license. Obtaining a permit in the Hoosier state could cost upwards of $5,000.
“Other places in town that make their own liquid its pretty much going to run them out,” said Ford.
Proponents of Senate Bill 539 argue the goal of the bill is not to shut down businesses, but instead it’s aimed at keeping tobacco products out of the hands of minors.
“Brains are not fully developed until we are young adults, and nicotine really interferes with the development of that teenage brain,” said Bill Stanczykiewicz, with the Indiana Youth Institute.
For the first time in years the smoking rate among teens is down, and e-cigarettes are now threatening what tobacco and cessation programs have fought for.
“This is going to re-normalize smoking,” said Stanczykiewicz.
However, Smoke N Peace will remain in business. Their manufacturer will be shelling out the cash, maintaining that the extra tax won’t reflect in the prices on the shelf.
“They already make enough money that I think they could probably absorb the shock of all that money going out,” said Ford.
The same can’t be said for all shop owners who still fear the regulations go too far.
“It’s a really hard blow for a lot of shops,” said Ford.
The author of the bill is still looking to work with opponents to create regulations that will allow shops to stay in business.