Lawmakers close to banning the sale of flavored vape products in Louisiana
UPDATE: It appears the Senate never got to HB179 for final passage by Sine Die, therefore it is dead until at least next year.
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - State lawmakers are getting close to banning the sale of flavored vapes for electronic cigarettes in Louisiana.
House Bill 179 by Republican State Representative William Wheat of Ponchatoula would prohibit the sale of certain flavored nicotine products used in vaping.
The bill is now just pending Senate final passage, which could take place on Thursday, June 8.
But some local business owners are saying, not so fast.
There are hundreds of electronic cigarettes or vapes, along with different flavored e-liquids or vape juice inside Tiger Vape Store in Port Allen.
Ahmad Toom is the manager of the place. He said people come in all the time for the popular flavored vaping products.
“For most people, they try to quit cigarettes and they try to transition into the fruity flavors. I guess it’s not as nasty as the tobacco flavors are, so that’s what kind of draws people in,” said Toom, the manager at Tiger Vape Store.
But some state lawmakers believe electronic cigarettes are drawing in teenagers
According to the FDA, 1 in 10 middle and high school students used vape last year and most of those used flavored vapes.
That’s what’s driving lawmakers to consider House Bill 179.
Also, at the beginning of May, Australia banned recreational vaping and tightened other e-cigarette laws to curb the rise in teenage vaping.
However, Toom believes current laws and ID checks in place are enough to regulate vaping.
“So, I feel like it will be bad for the economy when they do that. All this that you see every single bottle we pay taxes for, so it helps the Louisiana economy. I don’t know why, it’s kind of like shooting themselves in the foot, when they do this kind of stuff,” said Toom.
This measure would probably have to be enforced by the ATC.
Toom believes it should be people’s own decision to make, about whether to vape or not.
“I understand the concern for underage. I do feel like people can make their own decisions when they’re 30, 40, 60, especially when you have cigarettes already on the market,” said Toom.
If lawmakers pass the bill, the ban on flavored vapes would go into effect on October 1, 2023.
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