Statement on HB370
UTAH VAPE BUSINESSES – UTAH SMOKE FREE ASSOCIATION NEEDS YOUR HELP
We are writing to provide an update in regard to House Bill 370 .
On Thursday, the UTSFA opposed House Bill 370 because it’s passage would be extremely detrimental to vapor businesses and consumers in Utah. The bill would create an onerous licensure requirement which would require retail vapor shops to attain a license from their local department of public health for all vape shops that opened after May 8, 2012. Further, the bill requires retailers to provide independent verification that their retail locations are zoned properly which may cause dozens of small businesses to close, causing the layoff of hundreds of employees. All because of incompetence at state-run offices.
As importantly, the bill also adds vapor products to the definition of “smoking” under the Utah Clean Indoor Air Act. This policy decision would be a serious step backwards in the continuing fight against combustible tobacco use and would treat two significantly different products the same.
Members of UTSFA testified against HB370 and our lobbying team worked members of the committee. Unfortunately, there was conflicting testimony on whether or not the vapor industry opposes House Bill 370. Specifically, certain vapor leaders (not affiliated with UTSFA) testified that “vaping should be defined as smoking in Utah.” Shortly after this testimony, House Bill 370 passed out of the House Health and Human Services Committee. This left members of the committee and the wider legislature confused forcing the cancellation of our Call to Action for another bill which place it at risk as well.
So, today UTSFA must turn its attention to and redouble our efforts in defeating the bill on the House floor by reinforcing the industry’s position on this bill, attempting to repair the damage done to the industry and try to once again elevate the reputation of the industry amongst our elected leaders at the capitol. The Utah Smoke-Free Association remains opposed to House Bill 370 and we will continue to work tirelessly to defeat the bill.
Bottom line, the fight just got harder and we need your support to continue to fight anti-vaping bills. The Utah Smoke-Free Association provides a number of services to its members including lobbying services, legislative updates, and calls to action to ensure your voice is heard. UTSFA is an independent vapor association and we have built a strong pro-vapor message in one of the most complex statehouses in the country for the past 6 years.
Last year, we made an outstanding decision to affiliate our association and each of our members with the Vapor Technology Association. VTA has been an enormous resource to us, providing federal lobbying services, communications assistance, and coordinating our lobbying efforts with multiple state associations so that our industry has a consistent message. VTA also has worked with us on state strategy, reviewing bills, drafting and/or reviewing testimony, and consulting with us on organizational issues. At the same time, VTA has integrated Utah businesses in the federal fight for Cole-Bishop and changing the predicate date.
We are working hard to defend the vapor industry in Utah, but we need your help as our fight for the vapor industry in Utah just got tougher. To join the Utah Smoke-Free Association please visit: http://utsmokefree.org/directory/professional/. You may fill out the link at the bottom of the page.
Please support the vapor industry and join or donate to the UTSFA today!by