With the current focus on the FDA and its brutal deeming regulations, we tend to forget that most of the legal restrictions on vaping and vape products don’t come out of Washington at all. The FDA hasn’t forced e-liquid makers to do business with a single security company, creating a bizarre crony capitalist monopoly. But Indiana did. Sen. Blumenthal, for all his self-righteous bluster, hasn’t proposed a federal excise tax on e-cigs. But Pennsylvania already has one — along with five other states.

At the state level, things happen faster than they do in the US Congress, and special interests can have a more immediate effect. Tobacco companies and “health groups” are usually very well connected in state legislatures, and they frequently offer ideas to enterprising politicians — or even pre-written legislation.

The only way to combat that is to have good lobbyists working for us in all of the state capitols. That’s expensive, and it doesn’t always prevent disaster, but it’s the only way for us to hold our opponents at bay. Vendors who say they don’t belong to state organizations because they “can’t afford it” might be as big a problem for vaping as the legislators that use vaping as a political tetherball.

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