HB415 Call to Action

There are some strange politics going on in Utah, where rules of process are being waived in order to quickly pass a law.  House Bill 415 risks driving up prices, deny Utah consumers access to the products they enjoy, and may squash many Utah small businesses. This bill must be defeated, or heavily amended, today. This is your last chance to speak out!

How important are convenient access, variety, and affordability to you?

Utah Senators will be hearing House Bill 415 very soon, which will dramatically affect the vapor community’s access to a variety of products by defining them as  “tobacco products” in these bills, narrowly restricting where shops can be located, banning all online sales, dictating how your favorite brands must change their labels (if they are to be continued to be sold in Utah at all), and forbidding nearly all advertising of the products.  To be clear, none of this new law makes the products in Utah better, safer, or less available to minors.  Rather, it appears to be intended to squeeze your local vapor businesses until they just close up and leave the state, while also keeping many of your favorite e-liquid companies completely shut out of selling in Utah.  Contact your senators today and ask them to defeat this bill now with a “NO” vote on HB 415, unless all of the changes outlined below are made in the bill!!!

If this bill becomes law, you will likely pay significantly more for your products that remain available in the state! Companies will have to raise prices to pay for all of the added unnecessary regulations and bureaucratic red tape in this bill and then have to pass this cost onto you.  Also, there will not be many legal places to sell vapor products because of new restrictions on where stores can remain open. So, prices will also likely rise as stores will no longer have to compete for your business.

The new regulations requiring special labeling would mean many of your favorite brands couldn’t be legally sold in Utah.  So, even if you could afford the increased prices, or find a retailer near you that chooses to carry the brand you like, the selection on the shelves will be much less than it is currently.  While some brands will find a way to make a special package for Utah sales, most will likely not want to incur this cost and the risk of legal action if a mistake is made by their distribution process.  As a result, you could quickly find that you cannot buy products you love without driving to a neighboring state

BAD IDEAS DON’T BECOME GOOD ONES JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE PROPOSED EVERY YEAR.  The sponsor of this bill, Rep. Paul Ray, has spent years trying to pass his anti-vapor law. And, his fellow members may be getting worn down from repeatedly defeating his bills.  But, your Senators need to hear from you, the people they have sworn to represent, that you want this bill defeated to preserve your access to these products! Their loyalty needs to be to their own voters, not a bill sponsor who refuses to work with the vapor community on damaging aspects of his bill.

Make sure they understand your story on how these products have changed your life and then ask them to use their own vote to represent you with a “NO” vote on HB 415!

The Senators need to hear YOUR story about:

  • How these products have changed your life
  • How variety, access, and price of these products are important to you.

Suggest the bill be changed so that it:

  • Extends “preemption” to all vapor products, just like they do for tobacco products and cig-a-likes in the bill.  This means that the state law would supersede any local law and would prevent multiple and conflicting regulations in cities and counties. 
  • Defines the products accurately and removes vapor products from the definition of “tobacco.”
  • Requires federal standards for child-resistant packaging and labeling (not Utah-specific ones)
  • Requires vapor stores to risk losing their business license if they break the law rather than requiring them to get a tobacco retailers license.
  • Allows for legal online sales, but only when seller utilizes industry-standard age verification software to prevent sales to minors.
  • Removes advertising restrictions, (the state is at risk of financial loss due to a 1st amendment lawsuit if this restriction remains in the bill).

 

Please call AND email to ask the legislators to vote “NO” on HB 415 unless these changes have been both proposed and accepted.

As a consumer of vapor products, you know better than most that these products are NOT tobacco, are NOTHING like combustible cigarettes, and that cost and full access to them are important to you.  But, YOUR story is the one missing in this discussion while anti-vapor groups have sent their high-dollar lobbyists into Utah to persuade your own legislative representatives to regulate your products just like tobacco. If you care about cost and access of your e-cigarettes, make sure your voice is heard. You really CAN make a difference!

This bill will be voted on and become law by Thursday, March 12, or sooner!  So, please act quickly to let your senator know about your concerns, and how you would like them to vote!   Please call and email the members of the Senate right away. Find your Senator’s contact information here.

If you are short on time to look up email addresses, or don’t feel comfortable writing your own original email, CASAA has this quick and easy form you can use, instead.  You should add a brief edit to their pre-written letter to explain how these products are important to you, so your email isn’t a duplicate of others.  CASAA will send your email to all of the appropriate legislators on your behalf with one click. 

ImportantBe courteous and respectful at all times.  You should assume they know very little about vapor products, why people use them, and that they generally want good information so they can do the right thing for the citizens of Utah.  Your legislator is not your enemy and is your best chance to save your vaping rights.  So, educate them and ask them to support your position that this bill needed heavy amending, but since the sponsor wouldn’t budge, it must be defeated.

If you receive any follow up from your senators, please post them in the comments below.

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