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WaLeg Day 78: Committee stubs out e-cigarette tax

OLYMPIA – A state agency could set up rules for advertising and warning labels for e-cigarettes next July, if the federal government doesn’t do it first under legislation approved by a key House committee Monday.

But a key part of Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposal to control vapor nicotine products, an excise tax that could almost double their cost to consumers, was stripped from the bill in a major rewrite before the Commerce and Gambling Committee voted to send it to the House for a full vote.

The proposal still tries to keep the products away from minors, and would allow the state Liquor Control Board to penalize or revoke licenses for shops that sell to customers under 18. Most other issues with the devices should be resolved through federal regulations, Committee Chairman Chris Hurst, D-Pierce County, said.

The board would also have the authority to set rules for packaging, advertising and warning labels on e-cigarette products starting July 1, 2016 if the federal Food and Drug Administration doesn't. But committee members said they assumed the FDA would propose such rules in the next few months.

The state should not get in the way of adults who are switching to e-cigarettes to get away from regular cigarettes or other tobacco products, Hurst said. Nicotine is still addictive, he added, “but this is a far safer product.”

 




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Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981. He is currently the political reporter and state government reporter in the newspaper's Olympia bureau office.

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