• April 16, 2024

Kentucky House Committee Pass Vape Registry Bill

 Kentucky House Committee Pass Vape Registry Bill

Credit: Andreykr

Credit: Andreykr

A bill co-sponsored by 20 Kentucky lawmakers aims to limit the number of e-cigarettes, vapes and other next-generation tobacco products retailers are allowed to place on store shelves.

The Senate health services committee heard testimony on House Bill 11 on Thursday. The bill limits the sale of products to those authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and would punish retailers who sell unauthorized products or to anyone under 21 years of age.

“These vapes are not even supposed to be offered for sale per the FDA,” said Rep. Rebecca Raymer, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, according to media reports. “We, as a state, have an obligation to offer some protection to our citizens.”

Among other things, the bill would:

  • Require the Secretary of State to create and publish a list of certain tobacco product retailers;
  • Require the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to create and maintain a tobacco noncompliance database and reporting system;
  • Require wholesalers to verify a retailer’s presence in the database prior to transactions;
  • Establish and impose fines for wholesalers that unlawfully sell to a retailer that is in the noncompliance database;
  • Make ineligible any retailer with unpaid fines that are more than 60 days overdue from selling Tobacco Control Act-covered products until the fines are paid;
  • Direct manufacturers of Tobacco Control Act-covered products to provide safe harbor certification to wholesalers and retailers of their products;
  • Prohibit a retailer from selling Tobacco Control Act products to persons under 21 years of age.

“What you’re going to hear from the people in opposition of this bill is that it’s going to take everything off the shelf,” Raymer said. “That is just simply not true. There’s other states that have used the same definition that we are using.”

Troy LeBlanc, a Louisville vape retailer and distributor, traveled to Frankfort to speak against the bill, which he said would devastate dealers. In essence, LeBlanc said HB11 would create a monopoly.

“It will ban about 98 percent of my products as well,” LeBlanc said. “Because all it’s going to do is to make sure that Altria is the main seller in every convenience store throughout the city — which is Juul.”

LeBlanc and other like-minded retailers want lawmakers to change the bill to put the products in 21-and-older stores and even increase the fines.

“We do not want children smoking,” LeBlanc said. “We’ve even suggested that the fines that they have — $1,000 for the first occurrence — be raised to $5,000. Because we want people who are selling to minors punished.”

The bill passed out of committee by a 14-1 vote.