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Lawmakers, shop owners disagree on e-liquid regulations

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Legislators have taken the first steps to regulate liquids used in e-cigarettes.

It comes as e-cigarette use has tripled among teenagers. A new CDC report says that more than one in ten high school students say they use e-cigarettes.

Lawmakers hope the newest legislation on e-liquids helps curb this number, but vape shop owners say the efforts are misguided.

David Cohen sat at World of Vapor this afternoon taking drags off his electronic cigarette.

He supports the law that bans e-liquid sales for minors.

“I have a 15-year-old son that i don’t want vaping until he’s old enough to make his own choices,” said Cohen.

But Cohen also owns this Irvington vape shop, which prevents minors from entering. He says he could get behind most of the regulations on the table, but worries about the fine print.

“The childproof caps, the not selling until 18, those are all fine. Ingredients labels. That’s all fine and nobody in the industry disputes that. It’s the stuff behind all that that cripples the industry,” Cohen said.

He’s referring to manufacturing regulations, which he says disproportionately burden small businesses. He estimates it would cost him thousands of dollars to comply and get licensed, and guesses many shops might have to close.

“We should take a look at what kind of jobs we’re killing. And why we’re killing them,” said Cohen.

But lawmakers supporting the bill, as well as further regulation on e-cigarettes, say the manufacturing regulations are crucial.

“Before this piece of legislation came along, we didn’t know where the liquids were made, we didn’t know how they were produced, we didn’t know how they were being distributed,” said Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis).

Senator Merrit says businesses now know the rules they’re expected to play by.

“I think the regulations that we put are for protection of the public and for the protection of the shops themselves.”

Cohen says the intent does not match the execution.

“I understand that it’s all about the children. But I don’t think it’s really all about the children,” said Cohen.

The e-liquid bill is headed to the governor’s office for approval. It is one of several bills regulating e-cigarette usage introduced into the General Assembly this year.