Feb. 9 update
This article has been updated with additional state PMTA registry bills (and other bills). We will continue to add proposed state legislation as it is introduced.
A new kind of restrictive vape product law is rapidly gaining traction in state legislatures. So far this year, over a dozen so-called PMTA registry (or directory) bills have been introduced. The bills are promoted to state lawmakers by tobacco companies seeking to protect themselves from competition.
The new bills follow the same outline as laws passed over the last two years in Oklahoma, Louisiana and Alabama. A state establishes a registry (or directory) of products that may legally be sold in that state, which is maintained by a state agency. Manufacturers, distributors or sellers of products who want to add them to the registry must attest under penalty of perjury that the products are either authorized for sale by an FDA marketing granted order (MGO), or are still undergoing review by the agency. There is typically a one-time or recurring fee for each product registered, and the products are listed on a public website.
Because relatively few popular vape shop products meet all the requirements of a PMTA registry law, the laws create a huge advantage for tobacco companies (and one major independent vape manufacturer) that do have qualifying products. They also make it simple for law enforcement to target vape shops, which usually don’t sell tobacco industry vape products.
The bills provide an easy way for lawmakers to tell constituents—who may be frightened by ongoing news stories about a youth vaping “epidemic”—that they’ve done something to stem the vaping tide and protect kids. In reality, the laws will create a real black market where unregulated, untaxed products are sold on social media and shady websites to anyone with money to pay.
Which states are considering PMTA registry bills?
Here is a list of states with introduced PMTA registry bills. Some are brand new, and some have already advanced to hearings and pose an immediate danger to vaping consumers and businesses in their state.
We have included links to the bills themselves (if there are separate house and senate bills, usually there is just one link), and a second link if the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) has issued a call to action for state residents.
CASAA usually issues a call to action when a bill is rapidly gaining interest among legislators, committee hearings have been scheduled, or hearings are expected soon. In other words, if CASAA has issued a call to action, the bill is a serious and immediate threat and responses from vaping and nicotine consumers are needed right away to convince legislators to oppose the registry bill.
CASAA CEO Alex Clark on the “existential threat” from state PMTA Registry bills.
— CASAA (@CASAAmedia) January 31, 2024
Remember, just because a bill hasn’t yet gotten a call to action doesn’t mean it won’t start moving any day. And if your state isn’t currently facing a threat, one could pop up at any time. If you join CASAA (which is free), you’ll be notified about calls to action in your state when they happen. (Disclosure: I serve as an unpaid CASAA board member.)
You can see all active CASAA calls to action on this page, below the map.
Bills SB 3385 / HB 2794
Bill HB 2211
Bill A 3404
Bill HB 3971 – amends existing PMTA registry law to strengthen penalties
Bill HB 729
(Urgent: Vermont is currently holding hearings for bill S 18, which would ban the sale of all flavored vapes, nicotine pouches and smokeless tobacco. There is an active CASAA call to action for this flavor ban bill.)
CASAA has issued calls to action for several other bills in various states that are not PMTA registry bills. If you live in these states, please take action:
Why does Big Tobacco favor PMTA registries?
The FDA has so far authorized just seven e-liquid-based vaping devices (six of which are still being sold), and a handful of tobacco-flavored refill cartridges or pods. All are made by subsidiaries of three major tobacco companies.
The FDA is still reviewing…