September, 2016

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Fight for Vaping

vapefightSeptember marks the time of the year that the UTSFA begins to refocus our time and effort away from the summer and towards the January start of the legislative session. On September 24th, we will be co-hosting our annual fundraiser to raise funds not only for Utah advocacy, but most importantly for the fight on the federal level. What’s going to happen in Utah is still a mystery but we can tell you we have some things of our own in the works. What we expect to happen this year is:

  • A return of Students Against Electronic Vaping, a statewide high school group
  • A third return of Tobacco21
  • A fifth attempt at taxation
  • A bill to ban all vaping at vapor specialty retailers
  • A bill to clean up the 2015 HB0415 bill due to the FDA deeming regulations
  • A bill to address the federally illegal nature of prior bills

We believe this to just be a partial list of what will come our way this next session. This will be the most active legislative session to date and we need all hands on deck. We need the ENTIRE community to be in close contact with their elected representatives so they understand our community is large and will not sit back and be walked all over.

Advocacy isn’t as cheap as it once was as the battles now require the industry to employ a team of lobbyists and attorneys to help keep the bills at bey and doing significant damage to the industry. Simply showing up to hearings and meetings is no longer enough.

If you own an industry business and are in Utah but are not supporting the local fight financially, please understand one important point. If a tax bill passes, the Utah industry will end and your business will close. It takes lobbyists and the strong relationships we have with several powerful national organizations who back the UTSFA efforts to keep this from happening. Look what happened in Pennsylvania, Washington DC and other areas that passed their taxes. Within weeks of the tax passing, businesses started closing down and employees were left without jobs. Lobbyists and Attorneys are NOT cheap and we need ALL businesses to contribute to the local fight so we have sufficient funds. We also try and be prepared to bring in some very powerful national allies but alas, they too are not free.

If you are a business and want a stronger voice in the fight, click here to join as a member or a sponsor and stand up to help us fight back. If you are a consumer, consider donating $20 or as much as you can to help out – this is less than one Beans & Brew speciality coffee a week. To see which of the excellent Utah industry businesses contribute financially to help protect our right to vape, click here.

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September 2016 Utah Regulations Update

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As many have seen, the Utah Dept of Health has released an update to the HB0415 regulations (Rule R384-415) on September 1st. Anyone may submit public comment through 5pm MDT on October 3rd and providing no further updates are required, will have an effective date of 10/10/2016.  The changes are intended to clarify the rule in light of the FDA’s Tobacco Control Act Deeming Rule.

You may review the revised rules by clicking here

The UTSFA has reviewed the updates to the regulations and the following is our assessment of the language:

  • Requirements for batch numbers have been removed, any FDA requirements remain
  • Requirements for specific qualities of ingredients has been removed
  • Requirements for Utah specific labeling requirements have been aligned to match FDA requirements. This means,
    • No requirement for tamper evident warning
    • No unique Utah language for nicotine warning, any FDA requirements remain
    • No requirement for manufacturing name, any FDA requirements remain
    • No requirement for an ingredient list, any FDA requirements remain
    • A Utah specific requirement for non-nicotine warning was added
  • The maximum nicotine content rule remains
    • The rule allowing for a 10% variance in nicotine content of a final mixed product has been removed
  • Requirement for use of a tamper-evident feature has been removed
  • Enforcement of the rules remains with the Departments of Health
  • Requirements for record keeping has been removed.
  • Language added that allows for only the sale of FDA approved products after August 8, 2019.

Based on a few of the items above, the UTSFA will likely be submitting feedback during the public comment period to try and correct a few items we believe are in violation of the new federal regulations and express our concern the modifications were done in isolation without input from the committee who designed the regulations. As further updates become available, the UTSFA will inform the community accordingly.

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