Most of the time, it's difficult to see the damage done to the economy by excessive and onerous government regulations. It is necessary to speculate about what “might have been” in the absence of government interference, but that's always an iffy proposition.
So we suppose a word of thanks is due the Indiana General Assembly for giving us a clearer picture of the pernicious regulatory state. By enacting legislation that seemed almost designed to cripple the nascent vaping industry, then being intimidated by common sense into rescinding it, the Legislature has given us a crystal clear contrast of a market economy shackled and a market economy unleashed.
The legislation in question wasn't just foolish economically, but questionable ethically as well. It basically gave sole discretion on who was allowed to sell e-liquid in Indiana to a security company based in the Lafayette district of Republican state Sen. Ron Alting, who helped shepherd the measure through the Senate and resisted efforts by other lawmakers to make changes to the bill. That security company then kicked most vaping companies out of the business, creating a near monopoly for a handful of in-state companies now directed by the Vapor Association of Indiana. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, who strongly supported the bill, then retired from the Senate and took a job as executive director of the association
While the law was in effect, just seven companies were allowed to produce e-liquids for sale in Indiana. That severely limited the supply, which drove up the cost, which cost businesses customers.
Nearly 100 manufacturers are now allowed to produce and sell the liquid used in electronic cigarettes in Indiana after Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the legislation to open up the e-liquid market in April, the Indianapolis Business Journal has reported. As many as 300 are expected by the end of the year. Consumers have lots of choices of quality product, and the price has dropped tremendously.
And this isn't just another “government gets out of the way” story. Of all the smoking-cessation efforts ever tried, vaping seems to be about the most successful because it lets nicotine addicts continue to mimic smoking. So give the General Assembly credit not only for getting out of business's way but also for stopping its apparent effort to kill Hoosier smokers.