February, 2016

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UTSFA responds to cyber bullying

25 February 2016, 18:00
For immediate release

The Utah Smoke Free Association received reports through the media of cyber bullying and threats against our Utah youth in regards to vapor products and pending legislation on the industry. While we as an industry may not see eye to eye on public policy with Representative Ray, we do stand side by side with him that this type of behavior is completely unacceptable. If credible threats have been made, we will work as closely as possible with the appropriate authorities to assist in their investigations to hold those responsible to account so we can bring this situation to a close.

Aaron Frazier
Executive Director
Utah Smoke-Free Association

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Urgent Call to Action – HB157

cta

This Call to Action has ended – thank you to everyone that made your voice heard!

This is an URGENT CALL TO ACTION on House Bill 157 introduced by Representative Kraig Powell. If enacted, the bill will raise the tobacco and vapor use age from the current age of 19 up to 21.

If enacted into law, this would prohibit legal adults age 18, 19, or 20 from purchasing or possessing tobacco products, vapor products or related paraphernalia. It would ban the sale of such items to those under 21 and prohibit those under 21 from being present at certain establishments where such items are sold or used—unless accompanied by a parent—unless you’re “an active duty member of the United States Armed Forces.”

This will be the 3rd such attempt at this bill with one defeat on the Senate floor and last year it did not make it out of the respective committee.

 

HB157 will:

  • Raise the use age from the current 19 years old to 21 years old
  • Prohibit the employment of anyone under 21 in vapor specialty outlets if the vapor specialty outlets allow sampling and/or demonstration of products.

HB157 has been assigned to the House Revenue & Taxation committee and will be heard in committee on Monday February 29th at 8:00 am. We are asking everyone to email and call the committee members before 4pm on Wednesday and ask them to oppose this bill. See talking points below for details.

 

Suggested talking points (just pick one or two but be prepared for questions just in case): 

The only thing this law accomplishes is

  • Sends the message that at 18 years old you are old enough to fight, die, and/or kill for your country, old enough to be required to pay income taxes, go on a mission, drive a vehicle, sign a contract, be charged as an adult with a crime, and be accountable in all other ways an adult is held accountable. But you can’t decide whether or not you should smoke.
  • Instead of criminalizing adult behavior, we should be focused on increased education and awareness about the dangers of these habits. Let’s help teens not start in the first place by understanding what causes that choice and helping to prevent it through education instead of law, and help those who want to quit to do so.

Important: We can’t say this loud enough – Be courteous and respectful at all times in both your emails and phone calls. This is always a very sensitive topic as nobody wants our youth to begin using the product. However there must be a balance between prevention, education and laws that don’t infringe on the rights of adults.

 

House Revenue & Taxation Standing Committee

Legislator Email Phone District
 Daniel McCay (R) (Chairman) dmccay@le.utah.gov Cell: 801-810-4110  41
 Jeremy A. Peterson (R) jeremyapeterson@le.utah.gov Cell: 801-390-1480  9
 Joel K. Briscoe (D) jbriscoe@le.utah.gov Cell: 801-946-9791  25
 Rich Cunningham (R) rcunningham@le.utah.gov Cell: 801-722-4942  50
 Gage Froerer (R) gfroerer@le.utah.gov Cell: 801-391-4233  8
 Brian M. Greene (R) bgreene@le.utah.gov Cell: 801-358-1338  57
 Eric K. Hutchings (R) ehutchings@le.utah.gov Home: 801-963-2639 38
 Ken Ivory (R) kivory@le.utah.gov Cell: 801-694-8380 47
 Brian S. King (D) briansking@le.utah.gov Cell: 801-560-0769 28
John Knotwell jknotwell@le.utah.gov Cell: 801-449-1834 52
 Mike K. McKell (R) mmckell@le.utah.gov Cell: 801-210-1495 66
 Douglas V. Sagers (R) dougsagers@le.utah.gov Cell: 435-830-3485 21
  Jon E. Stanard jstanard@le.utah.gov Cell: 435-414-4631 62

 

Libertas Utah has a great tool you can use to contact all members of the committee at once. However, if you prefer normal email methods, the list of email addresses have been compiled below this. Click here to submit your comments to the House Revenue & Taxation committee using the Libertas website.

 

Comma delimited list:  dmccay@le.utah.gov,jeremyapeterson@le.utah.gov, jbriscoe@le.utah.gov, rcunningham@le.utah.gov, gfroerer@le.utah.gov, bgreene@le.utah.gov, ehutchings@le.utah.gov, kivory@le.utah.gov, briansking@le.utah.gov, jknotwell@le.utah.gov, mmckell@le.utah.gov, dougsagers@le.utah.gov, jstanard@le.utah.gov,

Semicolon delimited list:  dmccay@le.utah.gov; jeremyapeterson@le.utah.gov; jbriscoe@le.utah.gov; rcunningham@le.utah.gov; gfroerer@le.utah.gov; bgreene@le.utah.gov; ehutchings@le.utah.gov; kivory@le.utah.gov; briansking@le.utah.gov; jknotwell@le.utah.gov; mmckell@le.utah.gov; dougsagers@le.utah.gov; jstanard@le.utah.gov;

 

You can also tweet to everyone using the hashtag #utvaportax

  • Utah House Democrats: @utahhousedems
  • Utah House Republicans: @utahhousegop
  • Utah Senate Democrats: @UTSenateDems
  • Utah Senate Republicans: @UtahSenateGOP
  • Utah Senate: @utahsenate

Libertas Utah has put together a great video summary of this bill and why it’s bad for Utah.

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HB333 Call to Action

This is an URGENT CALL TO ACTION on House Bill 333 introduced by Representative Paul Ray which threatens to crush every vapor industry business in Utah by applying an 86.5% tax on our industry. If enacted, the bill will protect the tobacco companies by making cigarettes far cheaper and more readily available. His bill expects to raise over $11 million in tax revenue, will force over 75 retail and liquid manufacturers to close down and file bankruptcy, placing over 850 Utah residents on the unemployment line.  This regressive tax will have the opposite intended effect by forcing the adult consumers back to smoking deadly tobacco cigarettes seriously affecting the lives of every family member through direct exposure to second-hand smoke.

Representative Ray claims that this punitive tax would discourage underage youth from using it, though he has not presented any evidence that the tax would achieve his goals; the fact he anticipates $11 million in revenue is proof this is about adult control more than youth. Further, it is improper to punish adults financially simply because some youth may be violating the law that already prohibits them from purchasing and possessing these items.

HB333 will:

  • Introduce a regressive 86% tax (based on wholesale cost) on all e-liquid, hardware and accessories in Utah (excluding batteries and chargers). 
  • Require Vapor Specialty stores to obtain licenses to sell cigarettes despite the fact they sell none.
  • Classify vapor devices and accessories as tobacco paraphernalia

HB333 has been assigned to the House Revenue & Taxation committee and we are asking everyone to email and call your representatives and ask them to oppose this regressive tax on the products that have helped over 25,000 Utahans and over 10 million US smokers successfully move away from toxic cigarettes. We do not have a date yet for the hearing but when that is known, a separate note will be posted in social media to alert you to the date and time.

  • First, we ask that you personally contact your Senator and Representative. Let them know that you are a voter in their district and ask them to oppose HB333. Libertas Utah has a tool to enter your street address and zip code and locate them: Legislative Tool
  • Secondly, we ask that you please contact all members of the House Revenue & Taxation committee both by phone and email to also ask them to “support you as a consumer or business owner by opposing HB333.”

Suggested talking points (just pick one or two but be prepared for questions just in case): 

  • Let them know that you do not condone the use of e-cigarette products by youth but imposing punitive taxes that will affect adult consumers is not an effective method
  • Nicotine is no more a tobacco product than milk is a beef product.
  • Let them know members of our own legislature have suggested that we should be incentivizing the use of the products rather than taxing or over regulating them.
  • Let them know that the UK government recently released the most comprehensive study to date and finds e-cigarette products to be over 95% safer than combustible tobacco and are promoted to their smoking residents resulting in the most dramatic decline of smoking in history.

Important: We can’t say this loud enough – Be courteous and respectful at all times. You should assume they know very little about vapor products and also that they generally they want good information so they can do the right thing for Utah citizens. So, educate them on how these products have changed your life and ask them to support your position politely, for best results. 

 

House Revenue & Taxation Standing Committee

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I Vape I Vote

IvapeIvote

ATTENTION UTAH!

There are several Calls to Action in the works that will be released soon. In the meantime, it is VITAL that you take action NOW and make sure you are REGISTERED TO VOTE!

We will be hosting a few in-person “I Vape I Vote” voter registration events very soon but in the meantime, please do your civic duty and register to vote. The only way we can help beat bad legislation, is to ensure those introducing it do not get reelected. Vapers ARE voters and we are 10 million strong. Get registered, make your voice heard and lead by example!

Please click on the picture above to register online TODAY!

 

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