Friday, June 24th, 2016
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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