Vaping regulation bill faces changes in Senate

Legislation to regulate the liquids used in vaping and e-cigarettes was put on hold Thursday as senators began to consider possible changes to the bill.

The bill’s author, Sen. Carlin Yoder, R-Middlebury, said the controversial proposal still needs tweaks before it’s ready for a final vote.

The Senate could have approved the bill Thursday and sent it to the governor to be signed into law.

But Yoder said he’s not backing off the legislation, which is meant to protect consumers by regulating the manufacture, sale, possession and use of e-liquids, and to prohibit their use by minors.

“There are absolutely no regulations in the vaping business,” Yoder said. “Currently, technically, a 5-year-old could go in and purchase the stuff.”

Yoder said e-liquid containers don’t have childproof caps and he cited a case in which a baby died after drinking the liquid. “That’s why it’s necessary,” Yoder said.

The bill also requires e-liquid bottles to have labels that list all ingredients as well as a batch code – and limits the ingredients manufacturers can use.

It also requires retailers to have a retail tobacco certificate – a $5,000 expense the first year with a $1,000 renewal every five years.

But critics say the legislation could put many small vape shop owners out of business.

James Colib, who declined to give the name of his shop, said the bill calls for large corporate-style machinery, along with “casino-style security” and tough regulations that many small businesses won’t be able to afford.

“If it goes through the way it is now I will get shut out of business, my two employees will be out of work, and then all my customers will be buying their supplies out of state online,” Colib said.

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