• July 21, 2024

Kentucky Judge Hears Vape Registry Bill Case

 Kentucky Judge Hears Vape Registry Bill Case

Credit: Adobe

Credit: Adobe

Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate heard arguments Monday in a case challenging the constitutionality of a 2024 law banning the sale of some vaping products.

This comes as the defendants — Allyson Taylor, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, and Secretary of State Michael Adams — filed a motion to dismiss the case.

Should Wingate grant that motion, the plaintiffs — the Kentucky Vaping Retailers Association, the Kentucky Hemp Association and four vape shops — will appeal the decision, their lawyer told the Lantern. The plaintiffs have also filed a motion for judgment, according to media reports.

Either way, the case is far from settled. It’s unclear when a decision could come, as Wingate said it will “take a while” for him to review.

The lawsuit centers around House Bill 11 passed during the 2024 legislative session. Backers of the legislation said it’s a way to curb underage vaping by limiting sales to “authorized products” or those that have “a safe harbor certification” based on their status with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Opponents have said it will hurt small businesses and lead to a monopoly for big retailers.

According to Legislative Ethics Commission records, Altria, the parent company of tobacco giant Phillip Morris, lobbied for the Kentucky bill. Based in Richmond, Virginia, the company is pushing similar bills in other states.

Greg Troutman, a lawyer for the Kentucky Smoke-Free Association, which represents vape retailers, told the judge Monday that among his issues with the new law is the way it defines “vapor products” and “other substances,” looping e-cigarettes and vapable hemp and marijuana products together. He argues that combination makes the law too broad and arbitrary to pass constitutional muster.