One Small Step for Washington State Politicians, One Giant Leap for Big Tobacco

Vaper’s Vortex

April 8, 2015

 “If regulatory measures related to licensing and taxation unduly restrict the development of the market, and thus cause extreme increases in retail prices, then the stage will be set for the emergence of a black market similar to that experienced by the cigarette industry.”

Washington State House Bill 1645 has cleared the first hurdle on the track to becoming state law. The bill has been approved by the House Committee on Appropriations by a vote of 18 for vs. 14 against. This is a companion bill to Senate Bill 5573 (still in committee) which I will discuss in tomorrow’s post.

How does a bill become law in the State of Washington? According to the Washington .gov website:

  1. A bill may be introduced in either the Senate or House of Representatives by a member.
  2. It is referred to a committee for a hearing. The committee studies the bill and may hold public hearings on it. It can then pass, reject, or take no action on the bill.
  3. The committee report on the passed bill is read in open session of the House or Senate, and the bill is then referred to the Rules Committee.
  4. The Rules Committee can either place the bill on the second reading calendar for debate before the entire body, or take no action.
  5. At the second reading, a bill is subject to debate and amendment before being placed on the third reading calendar for final passage.
  6. After passing one house, the bill goes through the same procedure in the other house.
  7. If amendments are made in the other house, the first house must approve the changes.
  8. When the bill is accepted in both houses, it is signed by the respective leaders and sent to the governor.
  9. The governor signs the bill into law or may veto all or part of it. If the governor fails to act on the bill, it may become law without a signature.

So there’s still a long way to go. The next big step will be the “debate and amendment” following the second reading. There is much to debate.

House Bill 1645 – Full text

The following are direct quotes taken from the bill as it stands right now [emphasis added].

  • Makes it illegal for “licensed vapor products retailers to allow customers to taste vapor products prior to purchase.
  • “Prohibits the retail sale and shipment of vapor products where the sales transaction is conducted through the Internet or by mail order, and prescribes regulatory sanctions and criminal penalties for noncompliance.”
  • “Authorizes local governments to impose additional restrictions on the sale, purchase, use, or promotion of of vapor products.”
  • “Unless preempted by federal law, the board is authorized to promulgate rules regulating the chemical composition of the liquids contained in vapor products, including substances included for flavoring purposes.”
  • “A substance contained in a cartridge sold, marketed, or intended for use in a vapor product that is prefilled and sealed by the manufacturer, and not intended to be opened by the consumer, is exempt from subsection (1) of this section.”

No tasting. No Internet sales. Local governments free to add additional restrictions. No flavors. Big Tobacco vaping products – exempt.

As you read the following, again keep in mind that this is quoted directly from this piece of state legislation [emphasis added]:

“Although it is clear that commerce in vapor products should be subject to stringent regulatory controls, the development of a regulatory framework must be tempered by an awareness of the potential for creating an illegal black market in vapor products. If regulatory measures related to licensing and taxation unduly restrict the development of the market, and thus cause extreme increases in retail prices, then the stage will be set for the emergence of a black market similar to that experienced by the cigarette industry.

The legislature finds, therefore, that this act is necessary to protect the public health, safety, and welfare by preventing youth from having access to addictive vapor products, ensuring that consumers have accurate information about potentially dangerous products, and protecting the public from nicotine poisoning.”

Yes. They walk among us. Are in politics. And continue to breed.

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Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

2 thoughts on “One Small Step for Washington State Politicians, One Giant Leap for Big Tobacco

  1. Angel Tibbs says:

    So now it’s the day before Memorial Day, 5/23/15, and I went on Washington State Special Session 2015 and found they’d redesigned their site.
    On going in and checking out the horrible bills 1645 & 5573, I learned they were NTB per Gov Inslee and his darling AG. So I went in and opposed both bills, but I think they are trying to sneak this past us against the clear will of the voters, of which I am one. I e-mailed the Pink Lung Brigade, Zamplebox and Mt.Baker Vapor, and I commented on Tia Vapes You Tube channel, urging everyone to go in and oppose these travesties, but I’m a not too tech sav granny so not sure who else I ought to try and reach. You look like someone who should know if you do not already, since I have been checking every day and this is the first I have seen of it. Inslee and the AG stuck it in unchanged on 4/29/2015. NTB. The hell it is. These creeps will never get another vote from me…but we do have sensible legislators in both the House and Senate. Inslee just threatened to veto (hold his breath until his face turns blue) any budget that does not include new taxes for his own personal slush fund.
    I did not vote for him, but my vote has been traditionally a Democratic one. Not last mid term, though, because this is a topic – Tobacco Harm Reduction – I feel quite strongly about, and it is not right for Big Tobacco – with their cheap closed systems, designed to keep smokers from switching completely away from tobacco, or dual using – to walk free while their more effective competition, small vape shops employing local people, are unjustly taxed out of existence when even the FDA is taking its time and considering the impact.
    These guys, Jay and his AG – one of the AGs who lobbied the FDA to ban flavors in their comments – don’t even understand or care who they’re destroying. Jay did not engage the vaping community on Reddit on this issue, claims it’s all about our children (like we can’t mind them ourselves) and yet a minor ban is utterly appropriate, and all that should be done.
    Please get everyone you can on this, have them go in and re-oppose these bills. It’s looking like our state gov might just shut down over Jay’s selfish, greedy petulance. Thanks.

    • Dave Coggin says:

      Thanks for your comment Angel – I could not agree more. 1645, 5573 and 2211 were all resubmitted without revision on the same day – 04/29/2015. Interestingly, 5573 proposes a 95% sin tax and 2211 proposes a 60% sin tax. This from the state that has the sixth highest cigarette tax in the nation and the fourth highest rate of contraband cigarettes smuggled across state lines – 48% – as a result. Contraband sales that are estimated to cost the state $376 million a year.

      Washington and Indiana are neck and neck when it comes to legislation favoring Big Tobacco. Both doing everything possible to eliminate e-cigarettes in their states. Indiana will have to defend their position in federal court as the result of the lawsuit filed earlier this month by three Indiana vape shops. If Inslee and the AG are successful with any or all of these laws, we may see a legal challenge in Washington as well.

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