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Senate vape regulation bill goes up in...

Senate vape regulation bill goes up in smoke, House version still breathing

By: Jeremy Pittari - May 1, 2024

  • Pearl River County Sheriff raises concerns over vape products after high school students in his area have been hospitalized.

A Senate bill that would have prevented the sale of vape products in Mississippi that are not approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) died in conference, but a similar bill from the House remains in consideration.

Senate Bill 2441, authored by State Senator Angela Hill (R), would have created a requirement for vape products to be registered with the Department of Revenue and approved by the FDA. Establishing those laws would create avenues for local law enforcement to seize illegal products and press charges against non-complaint retailers. That Senate bill died in conference on Monday.

Senator Hill said she introduced the legislation at the request of Pearl River County Sheriff David Allison and the Attorney General’s office.

The Attorney General’s office appreciated the effort.

“We are grateful to the Mississippi legislators, especially Senator Hill, who are working so hard to protect our children from dangerous vaping products, and we are ready to do our part as both law enforcement and the state’s chief legal officer,” said Michelle Williams, Chief of Staff for Attorney General Lynn Fitch on Monday.  

Sheriff Allison told Magnolia Tribune his concern about vape products is due to a number of high school students being hospitalized after their use. Within the past year, about five high school students in more than one school district within Pearl River County were affected, he said. While all of those students made full recoveries, Sheriff Allison is calling for regulation.

Senator Hill agreed.

“Local teens and adults have been seriously harmed by these products. We don’t have time to wait on the state to come investigate every case,” Hill said.

Some of the harmful vape products used by the students were recovered by Allison’s department. The items were sent to the Mississippi Crime Lab for analysis. The Sheriff is still awaiting the results. If illegal substances are found in the products, Allison said he intends to pursue charges against the retailer that sold it.

“There are vapes that help people get off cigarettes; some are not healthy. Those are the ones we want to regulate,” Sheriff Allison said.

Senator Hill said the state needs criminal statutes that allow local law enforcement to seize products and issue charges for illegal non-FDA approved harmful vape products.

“I can tell you, local law enforcement wanted this bill,” she added.

HB 1660, authored by State Rep. Trey Lamar (R), is still alive as of Wednesday. If it becomes law, it would require all tobacco products, including cigarettes and alternative nicotine products that use electronic delivery systems, be FDA approved and registered with the Department of Revenue. 

Rep. Lamar told Magnolia Tribune that the bill is drafted after similar legislation that become law in Alabama, which has a registry of 1,500 products. He said his intent is not to hurt businesses, but ensure the products being sold are safe.

There have been instances where vape products are mixed in backrooms within the vape businesses, leading to unknown ingredients in the products, he added. 

“These products are going into people’s lungs,” Lamar said.

About the Author(s)
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Jeremy Pittari

Jeremy Pittari is a lifelong resident of the Gulf Coast. Born and raised in Slidell, La., he moved to South Mississippi in the early 90s. Jeremy earned an associate in arts from Pearl River Community College and went on to attend the University of Southern Mississippi, where he earned a bachelor's of arts in journalism. A week after Hurricane Katrina, he started an internship as a reporter with the community newspaper in Pearl River County. After graduation, he accepted a full-time position at that news outlet where he covered the recovery process post Katrina in Pearl River and Hancock Counties. For nearly 17 years he wrote about local government, education, law enforcement, crime, business and a variety of other topics. Email Jeremy: