Vaping industry insider blames big tobacco for new e-cig legislation in Illinois



(The Center Square) – A new kind of restrictive vaping product law is gaining traction in state legislatures, including in Illinois, and has caught the attention of the vaping industry.

The legislation in Illinois House Bill 5069 would establish a Premarket Tobacco Product Application registry of products that may legally be sold in the state. Manufacturers, distributors or sellers of products who want to add them to the registry must attest under penalty of perjury that the products are either authorized for sale by a Food and Drug Administration marketing granted order, or are still undergoing review by the agency.

“Right now there are a lot of products that are being sold at various places that are illegal in the vape and e-cigarette space,” said the bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Bob Rita, D-Blue Island.

Rita said the bill is also designed to help curb youth vaping.

Matthieu Fortin with Upper Limits vape shop in Springfield said the measure would essentially eliminate flavored e-cigarettes.

“The options that people have relied on over all these years to weed down on nicotine and get off cigarettes and tobacco, it’s going to remove all those options that are proven smoking cessation methods,” said Fortin. “It’s just a shame, really.”

Fortin adds that the measure would put him and many other vape shops around the state out of business and hand a huge win to Big Tobacco.

Rita said that tobacco companies are behind the measure, as is the Illinois attorney general.

Critics note that because relatively few vape shop products meet all the requirements of a PMTA registry law, the laws create an advantage for tobacco companies that do have qualifying products.

The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association is running a publicity campaign against all states considering similar legislation. Outside of Illinois, other states where the group highlights possible legislation include Indiana, Washington, Florida, Colorado, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Idaho, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Alabama, Utah, Kansas, Georgia, Wyoming and Missouri.

“The bills provide an easy way for lawmakers to tell constituents, who may be frightened by ongoing news stories about a youth vaping ‘epidemic,’ that they’ve done something to stem the vaping tide and protect kids. In reality, the laws will create a real black market where unregulated, untaxed products are sold on social media and shady websites to anyone with money to pay,” the group wrote in a January 2024 article.

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