Senate bill would prohibit sale of flavored vaping products
Measure does not address online purchases
Last updated 7/27/2020 at 3:23pm
OLYMPIA — Legislation requested by the governor's office and supported by Democratic senators aims to ban flavored vaping products and impose sweeping regulations on the industry.
If passed, Senate Bill 6254 would limit the nicotine concentration of vaping products, ban certain flavoring chemicals and require manufacturers, distributors and retailers to obtain licenses from the state Liquor and Cannabis Board.
The bill would also give the board authority to inspect businesses and ensure compliance.
The measure is proposed in response to rising public health concerns over the widespread use of vaping products and growing number of teenage users.
“While our nation has made a lot of progress in the last several decades in reducing teen smoking, what we have seen is an explosion in teen vaping,” said Sen. Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue, one of the bill’s sponsors.
Kuderer cited federal Food and Drug Administration data when she spoke to the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee on Jan. 22.
She estimated an increase of more than 3 million teen users from 2017-19.
“The evidence is clear: it is flavored vaping products that are the hook used to reel these young people in,” Kuderer said.
Another sponsor of the bill, Sen. Gerry Pollet, D-Seattle, said a new generation of people are forming nicotine addictions from the vaping products in a similar way to how cigarettes affected past generations.
Industry officials also testified.
Margo Ross, owner of a vapor product store in Moses Lake, said minors obtain flavored vaping products illegally and that banning flavors would turn away customers using vapor products as a substitute to smoking cigarettes.
Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, expressed concerns that the bill did not explicitly ban the online sale of flavored products.
E-commerce provides a method for minors to obtain these products, she said.
Shaun D’Sylva, owner of multiple vaping stores and a nicotine e-liquid manufacturing company, said the regulations imposed by the legislation would effectively kill the industry in the state.
“You’ve given the biggest gift you possibly could to Big Tobacco,” D’Sylva said.
The bill moves next to an executive session in the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee for a Jan. 27 hearing.