Measure to place restrictions on vaping products passes through committee

In a move to reduce youth vaping across Kentucky, The House Health and Family Services Committee unanimously approved House Bill 69 on Wednesday, which would require retailers and manufacturers of flavored e-cigarette cartridges to register with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).

Sponsored by Rep. Jerry Miller, HB 69 also would require sales of flavored e-cig cartridges to take place in-person only in stores where those older than age 21 can enter (barring online sales). Another provision in the bill would require those selling flavored e-cig cartridges to use a third-party, real-time, electronic age-verification system starting on Jan. 1, 2021.

Those testifying in favor of the measure, including representatives from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Jefferson County Public Schools, clarified what recent federal measures have been taken related to a flavor ban on e-cigs.

They said the FDA has issued a final policy on flavored e-cigs that went into effect this month, which imposes a partial flavor ban that prohibits the sale of flavored, cartridge-based e-cigs (like the Juul and other e-cigs typically used by teens) but disposable flavored devices.

But federal language excludes menthol-flavored e-cigarettes from its list of banned products, so menthol-flavored Juul and other brands could still be sold. The federal ban includes fruit, mint and any other non-tobacco flavored cartridge e-cigarettes.

Supporters of HB 69 argue that flavored e-cigarettes are a major reason for the surge in youth tobacco use in recent years. While they agreed that the federal regulations were a proactive step in the right direction, they said prohibiting places like gas stations and grocery stores from offering these products will further the effort to curb youth tobacco use in the Commonwealth.

House Bill 69 now moves on to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

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