November, 2015

now browsing by month

 

E-Liquid Manufacturing & Sales

Over the last year, it’s become apparent that lots of vapers are trying to break into the industry. Unfortunately this has created a growing trend with illegal e-liquid manufacturing operations popping up. While it’s exciting to see so many people wanting to get involved in the industry, it’s critical that everyone understands that Utah very strict regulations and legalities on the operation of a manufacturing facility and the sales of e-liquid. For those that go through the red tape to get their business legally licensed, illegal operations are a slap in their face and pose a danger to the public. These operations also make what we do at UTSFA very difficult and ultimately damage the reputation of the statewide industry and cause our lawmakers to come up with more regulations for the legitimate businesses to endure.

In every county in the metro area, your manufacturing business must be licensed and inspected by the county and have all proper business licenses to operate legally. Details of the licensing requirements can be found on the “Utah Laws” page and we’re happy to help you navigate the process and explain what it all means. Utah is also very fortunate to be home to numerous contract manufacturing facilities who will be happy to work with you and manufacture your product under your logo and your recipes in a properly equipped, licensed and insured facility. We can help you find a suitable one if you would like to go this route.

When we discover a new e-liquid manufacturer on the scene, we attempt to reach out to discuss the business and make sure it’s legal. However, if it’s not and the owner refuses to take immediate steps to legalize their business, we will do what is necessary to protect the legal business owners, the image of the entire statewide industry and ultimately the safety of the consumers. This includes passing information on the illegal operation to the respective health department and any other necessary authorities. We would prefer to never have to do this but illegal businesses hurt everyone and this cannot be tolerated.

A few key points on the legalities of the Utah industry:

  • It is illegal for a Utah e-liquid manufacturer or retailer to sell to a Utah resident online (including social media) or “meet up” to make the sale.
  • It is illegal for someone to manufacture e-liquid in a home-based facility and sell to the public.
  • It is illegal for someone to manufacture e-liquid in Utah in a facility which has not been licensed by the county to manufacture e-liquid
  • Sales of vapor products and e-liquid to the Utah public can only be done through a physical Retail operation which has obtained the required business license and e-cigarette retail licensing.

We ask anyone who is currently operating in an unlicensed/home-based facility or who may be considering getting into the industry to review the breakdown of laws on the “Utah Laws” page under the Legislation banner above. Utah doesn’t allow a parking lot taco cart to sell a single taco without all the required licensing and permits and our industry is no different. Continuing to operate in this manner will only result in tougher restrictions that will create serious harm on the entire statewide industry.

We also ask that all social media group admins keep an eye on this and prohibit anyone posting the sale of e-liquid as a business type posting if they cannot prove they are properly licensed to manufacture.  Allowing this to occur or supporting it by allowing purchase of the product is knowingly supporting illegal behavior.

We understand that everyone wants to get into the industry but it’s important that you do it correctly from the start.  If anyone has questions on this, we encourage you to reach out to us via the contact form on our website so a member of our team can work with you.

Facebooktwitterby feather
rssby feather

Membership Drive

My fellow Utah vapers. Everyone is certainly aware of the struggles with regulation we have been through over the last 5 years in Utah. Frankly put, we’ve been put through hell and back but we’ve survived. The 2016 legislative session is right around the corner and we’ll once again be facing another big fight – taxation. Taxation of our industry is gaining steam around the country and it’s critically important that we are aligned and ready to battle. We as an industry will not accept ANY taxation beyond the current sales tax we are paying. Sin taxes were created for the purpose of behavior control for habits that the nanny’s felt were bad for our health (cigarettes and alcohol specifically here). What has become apparent in the recent 18 months, taxing our industry has nothing to do about health or “protecting the children”. Many of our elected leaders have gone on record that they want the money to fill gaps in the state budgets; both in Utah and in many other states.

What they and the supporters of taxation do not realize is that by taxing these products, it will force EVERY small business owner to close due to the inability to compete in the market. After all, why would a consumer pay $50 for a bottle of liquid when they can get the exact same product for half that cost online. I wouldn’t pay it nor would anyone else. This proposed taxation, risks forcing over 600 of our Utah brothers and sisters out of work. When this happens, the industry loses AND the state loses. They lose all expected tax money they hoped to gain. They lose property and employment tax. They lose sales tax. And worse, they commit public health malpractice by keeping smokers smoking and possibly forcing vapers back to smoking due to the unavailability of products.

We need EVERY vaping business owner to get involved now. We plan to fight this hard and fast but we cannot do that without membership. We have plans to get the best people in the country involved in this fight but the fight is not free. Ask yourself, what will you as a business owner do if taxation forces you out of business in the next 6-8 months. There is only one way to fight this and that is by joining forces and fighting together. If we lose this battle and you’ve done nothing to support it, there will be only one person to blame.

We have several membership options available which are outlined on our membership page here http://utsmokefree.org/directory/professional/. Join the 24 existing members of the Utah Smoke Free Association who have already committed to the fight financially to save the industry.  Every unsigned vapor business should join today so we can continue to fight for the rights of the industry and so you can demonstrate your commitment to remain in business in 2016 and continue the good work you do in helping Utah’s smokers make a positive change in their lives.

Either contact a member of the Board of Directors today or click the Join button below to register your intent to join.

join

Facebooktwitterby feather
rssby feather

November 14th Deseret News Rebuttal

This post is in response to the Deseret News editorial posted today at the following link. Because they limit responses to 200 words, we posted a very brief response with a link to this posting.  http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865641501/The-FDAs-delay-in-releasing-electronic-cigarette-regulations-is-putting-the-young-at-risk.html

Everyone, even the editorial board is entitled to their opinion. However, for a journalistic source, one would hope they would at least get their facts straight and tell the truth; or has the Deseret News turned into nothing more than an outlet to spew rhetoric over facts?

While it’s true the public comment period has ended, it is not true the FDA is sitting back waiting on the results of studies (although they should). At the present time, the proposed regulations (of which nobody has seen after the recent edits) are sitting with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The law requires the OMB/OIRA to go through a brief public comment period of their own which allows the citizens of the US to meet and discuss impact, whether positive or negative. This process is underway and is running through around the end of the year.

You claim that millions of Americans are ingesting harmful chemicals with long-term consequence yet provide no data to back it up. Maybe because there is data of which you can refer to. All agencies within the US are too blinded by the tax money they get from combustible tobacco that you would rather demonize an industry that has helped nearly 15 million smokers break free. Our allies in the UK have done what nobody in the US has been willing to do; they commissioned studies and reviewed all existing ones and determined e-cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful than inhaling tobacco smoke (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/457102/Ecigarettes_an_evidence_update_A_report_commissioned_by_Public_Health_England_FINAL.pdf).

You ask that the FDA releases the regulations but you must understand something about this $3.5 Billion dollar industry. With the industry, comes jobs. By our estimation, around 75,000 US jobs to be precise. There are over 600 of your Utah friends and family members employed in this industry. Our industry has been pivotal in the historic low smoking rates recently reported by the CDC. Something that no government agency could do but private industry did without any taxpayer assistance. These regulations, pose a very real risk to forcing over 75,000 Americans out of work and around 12,000 business owners into bankruptcy.

Our industry has never condoned underage usage and are among the most vocal against it. We self-police social media and regularly report illegal activities to the necessary authorities. We are regularly visited by the police performing underage stings and have a high success rate in stopping the sale; unlike many other points of retail which the kids know will sell them. We asked the 2015 legislature to implement a law requiring the use of electronic age verification at every retail point of sale statewide that sells age restricted products (alcohol, tobacco and e-cigarette products). This was rejected before it even made it to committee. Ask yourselves, why does THIS industry want it but the lawmakers and lobbyists don’t? Who do you think wants the kids smoking and using age restricted products?

You claim that the use of flavors is used to lure kids into using our products. Several population level studies consisting of 10’s of thousands of adult consumers shows that the flavors are what allowed the products to be successful in our journey to quit. One such study can be found here: http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/10/12/7272. Many industries use flavors not to attract kids, but because adults enjoy flavors. Continuing to argue this is our target audience is slanderous at best. If anyone doesn’t believe me, all you have to do is walk into a liquor store and look at cupcake vodka or look at the pharmaceutical industry in their manufacturing of Fruit Chill nicotine gum.

You state that some of the vapor tested contains heavy metals and organic compounds. While this is true, what you do not state is that the metals detected are below USP standards for metals in inhalation medications. You also do not inform the readers that the NRT products which the Utah taxpayers fund to hand out at no cost to smokers also contains heavy metals and at levels higher than e-cigarettes. This isn’t to say that improvement isn’t needed but you must be honest to the readers.

While usage by underage youth is unacceptable, the data actually disproves the gateway theory since underage smoking is at historic low rates and seems to indicate e-cigarettes are diverting our teens away from combustible tobacco. Whether the products are advertised or not, illegal or not, our teens will find a way to get them. We see this with the SHARP data showing the use of marijuana which is federally illegal and only available in the black market. We see it with alcohol which is only available to those over 21 (which by the way, neither product is regulated by the FDA).

What public health and our media owe to the people is the truth. The truth that your addiction to the tax money and creating moral panic is more important to you than the health of the people. The truth that for 20 years, the smoking rates plateaued and nothing was making a dent. The truth that THIS consumer run industry did in 10 years what public health could not, by being the reason nearly 9 million Americans are no longer smoking. The truth that if the FDA regulations are enacted as they are written, this industry will close almost overnight forcing over 9 million Americans back to combustible tobacco.

Public health and our media suggest that only FDA approved cessation products should be used to quit smoking. What they are telling the 42 million smokers is that if they can’t quit, they should die trying rather than to use a product which is scientifically proven to be at least 95% less harmful. Shame on public health. Shame on the Deseret News.  Don’t be a sheeple and simply believe everything that you read in the media.  Do your own research. We provided links above and are happy to provide you whatever you need to come to your own informed conclusion.

Facebooktwitterby feather
rssby feather