Indiana Senate approves bill overhauling troubled vaping law

(AP file photo/Ben Margot)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP, WTHR) - The Indiana Senate has passed a bill overhauling an existing law that created a monopoly in the vaping industry and sparked an FBI probe.

Sen. Randy Head's measure effectively guts a 2016 law that allowed one security firm to play gatekeeper over the industry. A federal appellate court struck down portions of the law last month.

The Logansport Republican's bill was approved on a 49-1 vote and now goes to the House for consideration.

Vaping devices are used as an alternative to smoking. Users inhale vapor that's generated from a battery-powered device. The vapor contains nicotine and flavoring, produced by e-liquid often known as "juice."

Lawmakers approved last year's vaping law ostensibly to ensure consumer safety. It imposed strict safety standards for manufacturers of the nicotine-laced "e-liquid" used in vaping.

It requires vaping liquid manufacturers to use a qualified security company, but only one company in the entire state - Lafayette-based Mulhaupt's Inc. - met the standards to be a qualified security company, so the law effectively handed them total regulatory control over the state's vaping industry.

Mulhaupt's approved only six companies to produce, forcing dozens of other manufacturers to leave the state. Vendors say since the law went into effect on July 1, 2016, they've noticed some customers going to Illinois for their vaping liquid or just making their own.

Vaping was a $100 million industry in Indiana in 2014, according to Evan McMahon with Hoosier Vapors.

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