Nebraska Passes LB 1204: A Closer Look at the New Vape Legislation

On March 28, Nebraska's legislature passed Bill LB 1204, a significant piece of legislation impacting the vape industry within the state. While the bill incorporated several measures from an earlier proposed bill, LB 1296, it notably excluded the much-discussed PMTA (Premarket Tobacco Application) registry language. This change has significant implications for manufacturers, retailers, and consumers of vape products in Nebraska. 

What Was Left Out: The PMTA Registry 

LB 1296 had initially proposed the creation of a PMTA registry, which would have established a comprehensive list of vape products approved for sale in Nebraska. The registry aimed to: 

  • Define the qualifications for a product to be included. 
  • Detail the cost associated with listing products. 
  • Set penalties for selling unlisted products. 

However, the final version of LB 1204 omitted all language pertaining to the registry. There is no longer a requirement for products to be listed in a state-specific registry, removing what could have been a significant regulatory hurdle for manufacturers as only 13 obsolete cigalikes have been authorized by the FDA.  

Key Provisions of LB 1204 

Despite the omission of the registry, LB 1204 still imposes several new regulations and restrictions on the vape industry: 

Certification of Manufacturers: The bill mandates that manufacturers selling vape products in Nebraska must obtain certification. This aims to ensure that all manufacturers adhere to state standards, although specific requirements for individual products were not outlined. 

Ban on Online Sales: LB 1204 extends Nebraska’s preexisting ban on delivery sales of vape products. Previously, only wholesalers were prohibited from making delivery sales. The new legislation broadens this prohibition to include any person, effectively banning online sales of vape products within the state. 

 Marketing Restrictions: The bill introduces strict guidelines on how vape products can be marketed and packaged: 

 Prohibition of Celebrity and Cartoon Imagery: Products cannot feature celebrities or cartoon-like characters, aiming to reduce the appeal of vaping to minors. 

Trademark Imitations: Imitating trademarks of products primarily marketed to minors is forbidden. 

Disguised Vape Products: Products designed to disguise the fact that they are electronic nicotine delivery systems are also prohibited. 

Governor's Approval and Implementation 

Governor Jim Pillen signed LB 1204 into law on April 2, 2024. The bill is set to take effect on July 19, 2024, giving manufacturers, retailers, and consumers a few months to adjust to the new regulations. 

Implications for the Vape Industry and Consumers 

The passage of LB 1204 represents a mixed bag for the vape industry in Nebraska: 

Manufacturers: While the lack of a PMTA registry simplifies the regulatory landscape, the requirement for certification and the ban on online sales could pose new challenges. 

Retailers: Physical vape shops may see an uptick in business due to the online sales ban, but they must also navigate the new marketing restrictions. 

Consumers: Those who purchase vape products online will need to stock up before the ban takes effect. Additionally, consumers may notice changes in product packaging and marketing as companies comply with the new regulations. 

Moving Forward 

As the July 19 implementation date approaches, stakeholders in Nebraska's vape industry will need to stay informed and compliant with LB 1204’s provisions. We will be conducting geo-targeted campaigns to remind consumers to stock up on their favorite products before the online sales ban is enforced. This period of transition is crucial for ensuring that both businesses and consumers are prepared for the new regulatory environment. 

Stay tuned for more updates and guidance on navigating these changes in Nebraska's vape legislation. 

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