Indiana Ecig Company Fights Back With Lawsuit
Indiana’s electronic cigarette companies are facing an uphill battle since the state passed Act 1432. The new law requires all companies that manufacture eliquid to apply for a permit with the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission. In order to get the permit, they have to meet rigorous standards, including the installation of a 24 hour security system in all production and storage rooms. Troy Leblanc, owner of Derb E-Cigarettes in Clarksville, said the bill isn’t going to benefit anyone.
“Who is writing this bill? What’s the main purpose of this bill? Is it to protect the citizens or is it to push us out?” Leblanc said. He owns five Indiana ecig stores and he says they could lose over half of their inventory thanks to the new requirements. “Fifty to 60 percent of the liquids that we sell would have to be taken off the shelf because they come from companies who use certified labs, who use clean rooms, but don’t have the money to take security measures the Indiana state is requiring,” he said.
To make matters even worse, the Big Tobacco companies are exempt from the new rules because they sell the eliquids inside of closed, sealed cartridges. So now Derb E-Cigarettes along with two e-liquid companies are fighting back in a lawsuit, claiming that exempting the Big Tobacco companies is constitutionally discriminatory.
Leblanc said the rules would have a disastrous impact on local businesses. “A lot of the stores in Indiana are just going to open up across the bridge so all of the consumers in Indiana are going to take their tax dollars and hand it over to Kentucky.”
Now as the lawsuit moves to a court room, the Indiana General Attorney is preparing to defend the state’s new bill. “The Indiana Attorney General’s Office is fully prepared to defend state laws the Legislature passed from legal challenges that plaintiffs’ lawyers file. Assertions in a civil lawsuit are the opinion of the person filing them; and the ability to bring a legal challenge that triggers the judicial system is one of the checks upon government,” said Attorney General Greg Zoeller. “Since there is much unknown about the new devices and health consequences surrounding e-cigarettes, litigation is not unexpected,” he said.
Do you think the state of Indiana is going too far with the new requirements for ecig companies? Should the Big Tobacco companies be exempt?