State Regulators Eye Vaping Rules Proposals Would Mimic Alcohol, Marijuana Regulations

By Hill, Kip | The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA), January 27, 2019 | Go to article overview

State Regulators Eye Vaping Rules Proposals Would Mimic Alcohol, Marijuana Regulations


Hill, Kip, The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA)


As educators in Spokane battle the proliferation of e-cigarette puffing in the classroom, state regulators are eyeing stricter and clearer rules for the sale of vaping products.

New proposed rules from the state Liquor and Cannabis Board, which were presented at a meeting held in Spokane earlier this month, require full disclosure of business owners to regulators and impose escalating fines for failure to follow state laws, including allowing those under 18 to enter stores where vaping devices can be sampled.

The Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board was given enforcement duties of the vaping industry by state lawmakers in 2016. That law prohibited sales to people under 18 and required any business selling vaping products, including those without nicotine, to obtain a $175 annual license from the state.

The new rules, which likely will be revised before coming to the Liquor and Cannabis Board for a final decision, are intended to put vaping products on the same regulatory playing field as alcohol and marijuana, said Mikhail Carpenter, a spokesman for the board.

"Vapor was one of those things where you just saw the industry got way ahead of regulation," Carpenter said. "Things are starting to catch up."

Some of that regulation falls to the state, but much of it rests with federal authorities at the Food and Drug Administration, Carpenter said.

The same year the state began regulating shops selling the products in Washington, the FDA announced a rule that the industry fell under their regulatory guidelines for tobacco, which included a ban on sales to minors and required inspections of retailers by federal authorities.

The FDA has threatened to institute bans on certain vaping products if underage consumption numbers, which by all accounts are skyrocketing, don't drop.

Meanwhile, the vaping industry in Washington has been making its case against what they say are burdensome local regulations on a product that is intended to get users to stop smoking, rather than hook teens on nicotine in their formative years.

A coalition of vapor industry owners, called the Pink Lung Brigade, sued the health authority of Tacoma and Pierce counties after they passed more stringent regulations on vaping shops than those imposed by the Liquor and Cannabis Board. A ruling for the vaping shops is under review by the Washington Courts of Appeal. …

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