FBI Probe Results In Vaping Law Overhaul in Indiana
The legalities surrounding e-cigarettes and vaping have just gotten more complicated in the state of Indiana, but this time the issue is not health or the safety of children; it’s about business. Lawmakers in the state now want to reverse an e-liquid law they imposed in 2015, because they say it unintentionally gave one company too much control over e-liquid production. But underneath all the legal complexities of the business aspect, the heart of the law is still about hysteria over the phantom dangers of e-cigarettes.
The point in the law was to ensure the safety of nicotine liquid being produced in Indiana for use in e-cigarettes. In 2016 it was amended by Republicans in a way that caused the problem that Republicans now are adamant about changing. The amendment gave sole control over deciding who can and cannot produce e-liquid to one company, Mulhaupt’s, Inc. based in Lafayette, Indiana. Mulhaupt’s allowed only six companies in the state to produce e-liquid, which caused an FBI probe into the possibility that this created a monopoly.
Lawmakers had been warned of this possibility before the amendment to the law was passed and signed by the Indiana governor, Vice-President-elect Mike Pence. The FBI has not confirmed or denied that there was an investigation, but some Indiana lawmakers have stated that they were questioned by the FBI, including state senator Ron Alting, who represents the district in which Mulhaupt’s is located.
The amendment was drafted by Republican state Senator Vaneta Becker, who later changed her mind when she realized the amendment could create a monopoly. She tried to remove her wording from the amendment and warned other her colleagues against passing it. Other Republicans, including Alting, pushed for the amendment to be passed anyway. Now Alting admits he made a mistake, but he insists that neither he nor anyone else had any “legal evidence” about the possibility of a monopoly.
The effort to overhaul the law is being led by Republican state Senator Randy Head, who says that the permit process for e-liquid production should be decided by the government and not by a private company.
The monopoly on e-liquid manufacturer is what prompted most lawmakers involved in changing it into action, but the reason the monopoly came about in the first place was because of the extremely strict regulations in the law that only one company, Mulhaupt’s, could meet.
State Senator Head, in explaining the need to rework the law, said the requirements were simply too strict, and that they are beyond even what is required for food and beverages. One of the requirements was 24-hour-a-day video monitoring of e-liquid manufacturing facilities. Head stated, “We buy coffee at Starbucks, we buy hamburgers at McDonald’s, and those things can kill us if they’re not done properly or a dangerous substance is put in them, but we don’t mandate that there be 24-hour video monitoring of the people creating those products.”
The fact that the Indiana regulations required such stringent measures is another example of anti-e-cigarette hysteria. When it takes one voice of reason, such as state Senator Head’s, to point out to other lawmakers that they are requiring more stringent regulations on a product that produces vapor than they are on the food that we eat, something is terribly wrong with the system. Hopefully others like Head will come forward with common sense arguments against the onslaught of overzealous and damaging vaping laws.