Vaping industry "fix" clears Indiana House

(AP file photo/Ben Margot)
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP, WTHR) - A measure overhauling Indiana's problematic vaping regulations has cleared the Indiana House.

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

That law required 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 then 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.

The FBI launched a probe into the matter and a federal court has already struck down part of the law, calling it "a legislative grant of a monopoly to one favored in-state company in the security business."

The bill passed by the House in a 91-4 vote Thursday removes provisions from the law that created a monopoly for Mulhaupt's and sets a deadline for manufacturer permits to be granted.

Senators already approved the bill, but the House made some changes. That means a compromise needs to be made between the two chambers before the end of the legislative session later this month.

Changes made by the House reintroduced some regulations that weren't struck down by a federal appellate court, such as a trackable code and a nicotine warning on product labels. The House version also contains provisions on flavorings, retailer reports and ingredient lists.

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

The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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