By Cole Lauterbach
The Center Square
SPRINGFIELD – Vape shop owners are up in arms over an effort to prevent them from allowing customers to sample products in their stores.
The proposed legislation is described by supporters as regulating an unregulated and possibly dangerous industry of electronic cigarettes and vaping products.
“There’s no quality assurance, there’s no rules that they have to follow, there’s nothing,” said Kathy Drea, vice president of the American Lung Association of Illinois.
Sponsor Terry Link said the restriction is necessary to protect children.
“We have an epidemic because these young kids are using these in the school systems,” he said.
Adding vaping to existing Tobacco 21 laws would ban vape shops from allowing customers to sample products in their stores. That’s something state Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, said he thinks should be a reasonable exception.
“Why would we not have vaping stores allowing a person in their own store to test a product out?” he said.
Link promised to work with the vape shops on legislation over the summer that would change the restriction to reflect what tobacco shops can do but wouldn’t alter the existing bill.
The bill awaits a full vote in the Senate, something that could happen during fall session.