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Despite our best efforts, the state of Utah would rather destroy than protect the health of our adults and children.
As of July 1 2016, a consumer online sales prohibition goes into effect for all e-cigarette and vapor products; e-liquid, hardware, accessories…all of it. This means that no matter the location of the vendor, any business selling to a Utah resident without being physically face to face with the customer will now be illegal. This is devastating news for the over 35,000 consumers statewide. Around half of these consumers have no access to specialty retailers to purchase quality products due to our draconian zoning regulations which forces them to purchase online. We fear that this will drive these non-smokers to return to smoking combustible tobacco and elevating the states smoking rates after historic declines thanks in part to vapor products.
The prohibition is due to language that was added into 2015 HB415 that was not discussed nor debated and was a DELIBERATE bait and switch tactic by Representative Paul Ray. He knew the language was there yet when the bill was presented to the industry, the public, the legislative committees and his peers he chose NOT disclose the true intent. We find this conduct unbecoming of an elected state representative and is the most unethical action in the 6 years of legislative activity to destroy an industry founded to eradicate combustible tobacco. In the professional world we all live in, this would amount to nothing less than fraud and we would be sued for it.
The online ban was Rep. Ray’s method to control the illegal purchasing by underage youth since there is little that can be done to punish them for their illegal behavior. Unfortunately by taking this path, he has done nothing more than to force ADULT consumers outside the Northern, Central and Southern Wasatch Front back to smoking deadly combustible tobacco since the zoning regulations prohibit the opening of qualified vapor specialty retailers. This is bad for the public health and bad for the consumers, their children and loved ones who will once again be forcibly exposed to second hand tobacco smoke.
The UTSFA has been working on resolving this for a few months but we only received news on Wednesday that there was nothing we can do at this time. We are working on other avenues but it will take time and funding to resolve thus there is nothing that can be done about this in the short term.
If you are a consumer in Utah who will be affected by this, we strongly encourage you to reach out to your representatives and senators and ask that they repeal this ban in the upcoming session. Without a voice, your elected representatives do NOT know that you are affected. You can find your elected reps here: http://le.utah.gov/GIS/findDistrict.jsp
If you would like to help the UTSFA fight this unconstitutional ban, you may donate once or as often as you can afford to help us take the steps to keep vaping available for adult consumers statewide.
The Utah Smoke Free Association is a registered in the state of Utah and federally recognized as a 501(c)4 non-profit trade association. Therefore we are not a charitable organization and donations or pledges are not tax deductible as such.by
On August 8th 2016, the Vaping industry will forever be changed. Some of the effects have been felt already. If you don’t want to feel the long term effects permanently you have to do your part to fight.
Doing your part is more than just waiting for “call to actions” or requests to make calls and send letters from advocacy groups. It’s more than raising funds for advocacy groups and following the trash talk bandwagon whenever an anti-Vaping organization spreads misinformation. It’s more than making social media posts, more than being a Vape celebrity or a vape thought leader. It really is about being a vaper and talking to friends and family and educating them.
I constantly see and hear people saying “now is the time to fight” and “they can’t get rid of an entire industry”. Truth is we failed to fight, we failed to focus on the fight against the deeming regs for many years. We knew they were coming, we even knew what might be included in the final version and we did very little to prevent it. Because we failed to fight as one, it is a very real possibility they could end and entire industry.
Here’s what happens August 8th:
- No new products can enter the market.
- The clock starts for companies to file PMTA’s for products on the market after February 2007. Companies have two years to file with no guarantee of approval. If no approval is gained that product must be removed from the market.
- Shops can no longer mix e-liquid, build coils, or replace atomizers or modify devices without registering with the FDA as a manufacturer. Registration deadline is Dec. 31st 2016 for manufacturers. If a shop decides to register as a manufacture they are subject to a significant amount of additional regulation that most will not be able to comply with or afford.
- No free samples. Period. No exceptions. The FDA requires sampling to have a fee; and that fee cannot be meaningless. It must also be a nominal fee that is equivalent to the value of the sample received. This applies to consumers, employees, and wholesale as well. Say goodbye to free giveaways and free in store sampling
- Advertisements must have a specific warning statement with special formatting requirements.
- Flavoring companies who wish to sell to the Vaping industry must disclose their formulations to the FDA and be considered a component of a tobacco product. While this requirement is not dictated by the FDA nor does t have a compliance date of August 8th; any flavoring company who is not going to comply will cause products with their flavoring to have to be removed from the market because changing a flavoring after August 8th would make it a new product and immediately prevent it from being on the market without FDA approval.
- We become censored. No longer can we claim that Vaping helps people quit smoking, we can no longer claim Vaping is safer than smoking or that it is tobacco harm reduction. Doing so could result in enforcement action by the FDA for a number of different violations such as misbranding or adulteration or false claims. Doing so without approval of a MRTP claim authorization is a huge mistake.
- All online shops must have true age verification.
There is a tremendous amount of additional provisions that affect us all; mainly through the rules applied to manufacturers (which I won’t get into on here) and importers. Not all of the requirements are fully known yet either.
At this point we aren’t fighting for our rights, we are fighting for survival. Plain and simple. Don’t think for one second that you can sneak around the FDA and continue going forward as if it was 3 months ago. The FDA has the manpower to enforce their rules through Health & Human Services and the state and county health departments as well as third parties contracted by them.
Don’t buy into the notion that the black market will thrive and participating in the black market will only taunt the FDA. The FDA uses the U.S. Marshals to enforce seizures and DOJ for criminal proceedings. Don’t make the mistake of thinking they won’t use them.
The FDA thought of almost everything. Any possible loopholes have been closed up or left open to interpretation by them, not us.
For our industry and community to survive, everyone is a piece of the puzzle, compliance is not a choice, fighting is no longer a choice, they are all requirements for everyone’s survival.
It’s time for our industry and community to join together, grow and mature, and adapt.
Don’t just sit back and wait, if you don’t fight, if you don’t educate, if you don’t stand up for what you believe in, it will all go away.
~Eddie Mock, UTSFA Social Media Manager
“People smoke for the nicotine but die from the tar” ~Michael Russell
Because of comments made by Representative Paul Ray at this week’s Health & Human Services Committee (starts at about 1hr 33min) where he claimed on public record that nicotine was carcinogenic, we felt it necessary to make sure the public was aware of the real truth rather than his desperate rhetoric he pulls from his bag of tricks.
First off, we want to address the comment regarding nicotine being a carcinogen. According to a study ordered by the Division of Lung Diseases of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), nicotine is not a significant risk of causing cancer hence all NRTs on the market today are rated as such by the FDA or other health agencies. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2725009/
“Nicotine by itself does not cause cancer, but dozens of other chemicals found in tobacco products do“, according to researcher Virginia Reichert, NP; http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pulmonology/LungCancer/2039
Next, we want to address the addictive nature of nicotine. According to numerous studies performed, it is the cocktail of ingredients and MAOIs in commercial tobacco which make it highly addictive. It is the substance giving the subjective pleasure of smoking. Smokers smoke for the nicotine, but die from the tar and toxic smoke.
In another study on the long-term effects of inhaled nicotine, the study could not find any increase in mortality, in atherosclerosis or frequency of tumors in the subject rats compared with controls. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8614291
Since so much credence is given to the FDA and their words of wisdom, the FDA has determined that there are no significant safety concerns with respect to long-term nicotine use. More specifically, the agency published a “Notice of Findings” in the Federal Register indicating that the long-term use of the nicotine-containing products was safe and does not appear to have significant potential for abuse or dependence. While this study was targeting Nicotine Replacement Therapy products, the nicotine used in ENDS is the same quality and source that the pharmaceutical giants use in their products. Therefore, just because the private market is using the liquid nicotine, does not change the carcinogenic nature of it.
Another study of Alzheimer’s patients showed that those who used nicotine without smoking were better able to remember and pay attention than those who didn’t. Another study showed that nicotine boosted cognitive function in older people who didn’t have Alzheimer’s, but were showing signs of age-related mental decline.
According to Dr. Paul Newhouse, director of Vanderbilt University’s Center for Cognitive Medicine; “nicotine by itself isn’t very addictive at all and seems to require assistance from other substances found in tobacco to get people hooked. It seems very safe even in nonsmokers. In our studies we find it actually reduces blood pressure chronically. And there were no addiction or withdrawal problems, and nobody started smoking cigarettes. The risk of addiction to nicotine alone is virtually nil.”
We can’t say this loud enough but ask that he and others in public health making any of these claims to actually review ALL research to avoid making public statements that are dangerous to the public you serve. Just one month of continued smoking is more dangerous than a lifetime of ENDS usage.
Open statement from LorAnn regarding FDA compliance with their flavorings. If you are using them for your e-liquid recipes, you NEED to reformulate and have your reformulation invoiced by end of business on August 7th. Please see the following attachment for full details.by
Last week, 9 representatives from the Utah Smoke Free Association Board and our membership attended the first Vapor Technology Association Conference in Washington D.C. It was an amazing experience and I would encourage everyone to take part in it if the opportunity comes around again. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the VTA, they have been around about 8 months and have been involved in the industry for a few years now but officially became an association in fall of 2015. Tony Abboud, President of the Vapor Technology Association is a highly accomplished Government Relations Specialist, Lawyer and Lobbyist and it showed all week.
Tony Abboud kicked off the conference with Stacy Ehrlich following Tony’s introduction. Stacy is a partner at Kleinfeld, Kaplan and Becker LLP. She has also worked closely with the FDA in the regulation of tobacco products since early in the legislative process of the Family Smoking Control Act. Azim Chowdhury from Keller and Heckman followed Stacy with his take on the FDA regulations and what it will take for Retailers and Manufactures to comply with each individual deadline in the Deeming Rule. Next up on the Speaker list on Tuesday was Seth Mailhot, a Partner at Michael Best & Friedrich LLP. Mr. Mailhot worked for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from 1994 to 2006 in positions ranging from researcher, engineer, investigator and compliance officer. Following Seth Mailhot, a Lawyer named Marc J. Scheineson spoke in further detail about the Deeming Rule and his experiences with the FDA.
The Deeming Rule is going to affect this industry in a way that is nerve-racking to even anticipate but its important to recognize a few things. The amount of paperwork, studies and costs involved in PMTA’s are far from achievable for much of the industry. That being said, there are still things we can do. Supporting HR2058 and the Cole-Bishop Amendment is key. Both bills are now bi-partisan and making some great traction.
Tuesday evening we attended a surprise evening event across from the Capitol for a private screening of A Billion Lives presented by Aaron Biebert himself. Several staff members of various Senators across the nation attended and from what we heard, they received the information well.
On Wednesday June 8th, 2016 we began the day with a speech from Ashley Davis of West Front Strategies. Ashley is part of the lobbying team for the VTA and orchestrated the meetings on Capitol Hill with each of our State Senators and their staff. We individually met with the staff of Senators Mike Lee, Orrin Hatch, and Rob Bishop. In addition to asking for each of their support on the Cole-Bishop Amendment, we took the opportunity to educate our Senators about the products we use and the technology that has the opportunity to save 480,000 lives a year. Most were very receptive, interested in what we had to say and seemed like they wanted to help. We finished the day with a meeting with Mia Love and her staff. Her staff was the most engaged by far, took down several pages of notes and couldn’t hear enough from us. Once Senator Love came out of her office, it was nothing short of amazing. She offered her support of the Cole-Bishop Amendment and also made clear that once the Amendment in the Agricultural Bill is actually submitted as it’s own bill, she will support that as well! Senator Love is anti regulatory laws and committed to do whatever she can to help us out to save the industry and the jobs our industry provides.
All in all, it was a very successful trip and we were able to educate individuals that know virtually nothing about our industry. If you haven’t sent your story to your Senators and Representatives, I would encourage you to do so as soon as possible. The standard assumption is that your voice may not be heard and your time wasted. I can promise you after the last few weeks, more State officials are becoming very interested in this matter and more then willing to listen. We have made some great progress as of late but the fight is far from over. If you have any further questions about what was discussed at the Conference, please contact Grant Hiller, Eddie Mock or Darrel Schildknecht for more info. Thanks for everything each of you are doing to keep this industry alive. Have a great day and we look forward to seeing you soon.
~Grant Hiller, Industry Directorby
For Immediate Release
June 16, 2016
Utah Smoke Free Association Joins Vapor Technology Association
Salt Lake City, UT – Today, the Utah Smoke Free Association (UTSFA), a trade association and advocacy group with a focus on Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) through the use of vapor products and electronic cigarettes, announced that it will be joining the Vapor Technology Association (VTA) to advance its work improving the greater health of the Utah public.
VTA is the vapor industry’s premier public policy and advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. and is a leading advocate for manufacturers, wholesalers, small business owners and entrepreneurs who have developed innovative and quality vapor products, providing adult consumers with a safer alternative to traditional combustible products.
“VTA has proven to be the national association best aligned with the UTSFA in leadership and legislative principals,” remarked Aaron Frazier, Utah Smoke Free Association Executive Director. “VTA is unrelenting in their advocacy of the vapor industry, and we are thrilled to partner in their efforts in Washington, DC, here in Utah and across the country.”
“The Utah Smoke Free Association will be critical in our fight not only to protect the rights of citizens who use vapor products as a healthier alternative to tobacco, but also to advocate for Cole-Bishop as a way to preserve the vapor industry as a whole,” said Tony Abboud, VTA National Legislative Director. “We are excited to join forces with UTSFA and look forward to working together, just as we did this past week in Washington, D.C., to ensure that these life-changing products remain on the shelves for years to come.”
The Utah Smoke Free Association is a consumer-driven non-profit 501(c)4 trade organization comprised of a consumer-governed Board of Directors. Its members and leaders are passionate about the vaping industry and advocate to keep our industry legal and active in the Utah community.