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2017 Utah Legislative Session

The 2017 Legislative session starts on Monday January 23rd. We’re expecting another very busy and volatile session fighting for the rights of our Utah vaping industry, our consumers and our future consumers. This year, we are fully expecting the following to in the forefront of our battles:

  • Vapor product taxation (bill pre-filed by Rep. Ray, not numbered)
  • Attempt to raise use age of vapor and tobacco products to 21
  • Attempt to fully ban all vaping (including sampling and demonstration) from specialty retailers
  • Rumor has it he will attempt other restrictive regulations in addition to the above and all prior years

We shouldn’t have to remind our health departments, our legislature and our public what the real focus needs to be. Instead of fighting the vapor industry who is fighting against the tobacco industry, everyone should be focused on saving the over 20 lives lost every week in Utah due to combustible tobacco.

Continued attempts to tax and regulate vapor products in the same way as cigarettes is the wrong approach, potentially leading adults back to smoking deadly cigarettes. We all agree on the need to keep vapor products out of the hands of minors but applying tax and regulation that risks pushing over 35,000 adult Utah ex-smokers back to smoking or preventing the over 225,000 smokers from switching, is just bad public health policy. Let’s place our focus on saving lives and enforcing the laws on the books and taking action against anyone supplying these products to underage children instead of applying a regressive tax on the consumers who need this product to remain smoke free.

You can be assured that we are prepped and ready for this session and expect our 45 day session to go quickly. We ask everyone to pay close attention to the site, our FB page, calls to actions, etc because once it starts, things are going to happen quickly and with little notice.

If you are a Utah vaping business member, care about someone who vapes or know someone who smokes that needs our help, please consider joining the organization or donating so we can continue our fight to help change lives. Visit our membership page to join or contact us directly to donate today!

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Hands for A Billion Lives

handsThe Utah vaping family is invited to participate in a one of a kind GLOBAL call to action. We are asking for EVERY vaper in Utah to join together at the Utah State Capitol (South steps) on Saturday October 22nd at exactly 2:22 pm (need to be early so you can be in place by this time). At this exact time, vapers from around the world will be joining hands in solidarity to support the estimated 1 billion lives that will be lost this century due to smoking related disease. This event is not sponsored by any single industry organization to demonstrate the power we have as a community to come together to help save lives.

 

This movement is about exposing the threat to a billion lives from over-regulation of the vapor products, which will shut down 99% of the vapor industry and deny access to these products to Americans who would otherwise smoke. Today, We are building a wall to protect those billion lives who will die needlessly due to smoking-related disease if our government refuses to allow these products to remain on the market.

 

This will be a silent protest about exposing the threat to a billion lives from over-regulation of the vapor products, which will shut down 99% of the vapor industry and deny access to these products to Americans who would otherwise smoke.
On this day, we are building a wall to protect those billion lives who will die needlessly due to smoking-related disease if our government refuses to allow these products to remain on the market.

 

Some rules for the event that we ask everyone to please follow:

  1. This is a peaceful SILENT movement. No outburst, chanting, rallying. We can’t deliver the message that we are forming a wall to protect a billion lives and look positive and caring if we are ranting and raving about how the FDA sucks.
  2. Every person is responsible for their neighbor. Each of you are in charge of your neighbor and their actions. If your neighbor starts to act out, take action to help stop their behavior. Guilt works amazingly. “Hey, it is your responsibility to represent the community and you are making us look as irresponsible as they think we are. Stop. Show them we don’t want people to die, not that you want to kill someone.”
  3. Everyone is to direct media inquires to Shilo Platts, co-President of SFATA Utah. We want to deliver the exact same message across the country so it’s important that he be the ONLY media contact for this event.
  4. For this brief period it is imperative that we are not blowing clouds, doing vape tricks, etc. Remember why we all got into vaping and what the industry stands for (hint: it’s NOT clouds brah).

 

If you are a store owner, please print this flyer and place it on the tasting bar, next to your register and on your doors. Make sure your employees talk to all your customers about it. If you are a consumer, we encourage you to bring your significant others or family members with you that are old enough to understand what our industry is all about. Lastly, we are asking anyone who has lost a friend or family member as a consequence of tobacco-related illness to bring a picture of that individual with them to the protest.

 

To join the event, please register your interest on the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1346568058710382/

 

For more information on the Hands for A Billion Lives global event, please visit http://www.handsforabillionlives.com/

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August 8th 2016

aug8Today marks the last day before the deeming regulations kick in. As of tomorrow, the landscape of the vapor industry as we know it changes dramatically. This is just a snapshot of what this means for our beloved industry:

  • Vapor businesses are being forced to lie to consumers and are not allowed to make any claims through advertising, public statements, or their customers that these products are at least 95% less harmful, have fewer or no additives, has no tar or carbon monoxide when compared to other tobacco products. This ONLY applies to businesses though so for the consumers, keep preaching the truth because you are now the only voice of truth we have.
  • Shops, manufacturers and advocacy organizations are no longer allowed to give away free samples to the consumers; this applies to flavor sampling and giving away free product via rewards (“Buy 2 get 1” IS acceptable however). Customers MUST pay for sampling BEFORE you can sample a new flavor. For our retailers, you will need a SKU set up in you POS where you can record and show evidence of the charge. If you are a consumer, today August 7th, is the last day you can sample without paying so get out there TODAY and support your local vape shops to try as many of the new lines that have been introduced in the last few months.
  • No new products, improvements to existing products or innovations may be introduced to the market. This means:
    • No new liquids that were not previously sold or marketed prior to August 8th can be introduced.
    • Retailers must stop building coils & changing cotton
    • Retailers cannot teach a customer how to assemble their device and use it safely, fill their tanks, drip e-liquid on cotton or offer a repair service.
  • All retailers MUST check your government issued photo ID for EVERY customer who appears under the age of 27 – no exceptions. Even if you are a customer who has frequented the location for years, you must produce your ID for every single transaction if you appear under 27.

We know this is a difficult time for everyone and as of Monday, our retailers and manufacturers will be officially entering into a new time of uncertainty. We ask all consumers to remain patient with the businesses while they work to ensure they meet all the necessary regulations. There is still much work to be done on their side to meet the upcoming further deadlines so please be understanding. We would like to ask all consumers to funnel their frustration towards the federal fight. There are a few things you can do to help:

  1. Visit august8th.org to fill out the form and urge your federal representatives to support HR2058 and the Cole/Bishop Amendment.
  2. Participate in the #WeAreVapor call to action by taking a photo in front of your favorite shop and posting to social media and tagging your federal representatives http://utsmokefree.org/2016/07/vta-consumer/
  3. Support the Right2Be Smoke Free Coalition by donating money to help fund the lawsuit against the FDA https://www.r2bsmokefree.org/donations/fda-contribution/
  4. Every vapor business should be supporting advocacy through joining or financially supporting an organization of your choice who helps fight the local battles. There are national organizations such as SFATA, CASAA, AVA, and VTA who are focused heavily on the national FDA fight and they need & deserve your support too.

We ask all customers to please NOT get angry at your retailer as they must do all this to follow federal laws to avoid stiff penalties. This is NOT the time to give up but you should NOT stay calm. We must work TOGETHER instead of against one another and focus our attention on the preservation of the industry that each one of you fought hard to build. Write your congressman, send in letters to the editor of your local papers, donate money to the cause but do not just sit back expecting advocates to fight the fight. This is a time that our #VapeFam must come together to fight. This is a battle that will take EVERYONE to participate in to help win back the industry that was founded to save lives….#ABillionLives

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VTA Consumer Call to Action

vta

Calling all Consumers of Vapor Products

GET INVOLVED AND SAVE THE VAPOR INDUSTRY!

Calling all consumers of vapor products across the country! The Vapor Technology Association (VTA) is hard at work in the nation’s capital promoting responsible public policies like the Cole-Bishop Amendment that will save the entire vapor industry and will preserve your ability to access and continue to use quality vapor products. We have made a lot of progress, but now we need YOUR help! If we are going to be successful, we must show our elected leaders in Washington exactly who you are. You are the consumers who rely on vapor products, and you need to make your voices heard!

#WEAREVAPOR

FOLLOW THESE 3 EASY STEPS TO MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD

  1. TAKE A PHOTO! Take a photo in front of your local vape shop(s), with your friends, or just yourself!
  2. TAG YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS! Go to http://cqrcengage.com/vaportechnology/federal and enter your address in the “Find Your Elected Officials” box. Then, click and scroll down to find your Representative and your 2 Senators. Write down their Twitter and Facebook handles so you can tag them in separate posts.
  3. POST YOUR PHOTO WITH A MESSAGE! Post your photo to Twitter and Facebook using #WeAreVapor and #SupportColeBishop with one of the simple messages below and tag your representative.

Please use one of the suggested messages below so our message is consistent. For Twitter, choose one of these suggested Tweets:

  • @[REPRESENTATIVE] Vaping saved me. Now we need you to #SupportColeBishop and save vapor in our state! #WeAreVapor [INSERT PHOTO]
  • Together #WeAreVapor! @[REPRESENTATIVE], vaping saved me. #SupportColeBishop and preserve my choice to vape. [INSERT PHOTO]

For Facebook, use this suggested post:

  • We are consumers, employees, and supporters of small businesses in our state. Together, #WeAreVapor!
  • @[REPRESENTATIVE] Vaping saved me. Now we need you to #SupportColeBishop and save vapor in our state. [INSERT PHOTO]

This is important – Use both these hashtags: #WeAreVapor #SupportColeBishop

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Utah Online Sales Call To Action


cta

Due to the online sales ban, the community has been asking how they can help. While this cannot be fixed in the immediate term, there is something you can do. This will be a long-term call to action with no specific timeline for now. Without a voice, your elected representatives do NOT know that you are affected.

 

All members of the community should contact their location specific legislator via phone, email or in-person and ask that they repeal this ban in the upcoming session. Business owners need to be organizing face-to-face meetings with their elected representatives. Do not contact a legislator that is not your representative for where you live or where your shop is located since they do not represent you.

Most legislators do not even know that the illegal ban was instituted as the sponsor of HB415 during the 2015 session did not disclose the language to anyone nor was it discussed in committee or debated when presented for approval. Others think it was defeated and never implemented however our attorney’s tell us otherwise. If they tell you the ban doesn’t exist, let them know that the language in the “Electronic Cigarette Licensing Act” requires out of state businesses to obtain a Utah license and open a location to sell locally, which is the illegal portion. Request that they review the statute in detail and if necessary, follow up with the Utah legislative attorneys.

You can find your elected representatives here: http://le.utah.gov/GIS/findDistrict.jsp

We understand that everyone is passionate about this and many are quite emotional over the situation. Remember to be VERY polite, factual and non-emotional when you speak to them. Getting angry or being insulting will do more harm and have serious negative repercussions for the industry. In short, kill them with kindness.

A few talking points to consider:

  • Let them know that you vape and you vote and their support will mean your support at the polls this November.
  • We do not condone the use of vapor products by underage youth but creating a prohibition for over 35,000 adult residents due to the actions of a small group of offenders will not solve the issue. (Think of it this way, would a gun ban stop the criminals?)
  • Banning online products makes combustible tobacco more accessible for roughly 1/3 of our state.
  • Let them know how this will affect you personally

You’ll want to keep emails short and to the point and remember to be polite. Anything that takes more than 1-2 minutes to read will get long and the point will get lost. If you are able to speak to them, respect their time and be as brief as possible but remain polite.

Lastly, remember that our legislature is part-time and they are only at the capitol one or two days a month this time of year so their response may be a bit slow.

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HB333 Call to Action – Hearing

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 333 introduced by Representative Paul Ray which threatens to crush every vapor industry business in Utah by applying a crippling 86.5% tax on our industry.
 

HB333 will be heard in the House Revenue & Taxation committee on Thursday March 3rd at 08:00 in room 445 of the main capitol building. We ask EVERY industry business owner to close and be at the meeting on Thursday morning until the hearing has concluded (plan on through noon). We ask for all employees of shops be present and every consumer to join in. 
 

They likely will only give time for 2 or 3 people from our side to speak (probably 2 minutes each) so a showing of numbers is more powerful in this case than your voice. If they allow a single short statement from each of you, the most they will allow is your name and if you are for or against the bill.

 

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

 

As a matter of priority TODAY, 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
  • Remind them that the regulations from last year’s session have not even taken effect yet and the sponsor wishes to place an even tighter stranglehold on the industry.
  • Nicotine is no more a tobacco product than milk is a beef product.
  • 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 on the phone. If you attend the hearing, do NOT show up in torn up jeans, t-shirts, hoodies, etc. You are in a highly respectful location so dress your best (think weddings, funerals and church). 

 

House Revenue & Taxation Standing Committee

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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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2016 Legislative Session

Utah Capitol

The 2016 Legislative session starts on Monday January 25th. We’re expecting a volatile session fighting for the rights of our Utah vaping industry, our consumers and our future consumers. This year, we are fully expecting the following to in the forefront of our battles:

  • Vapor product taxation (bill pre-filed by Rep. Ray, not numbered)
  • H.B. 157 Age Limit for Tobacco and Related Products
  • Unknown regulations, possibly including
    • Advertising ban
    • Total online sales ban
    • Other unknown regulations
    • Manufacturing regulations
    • Retail sales regulations

Rep Ray has also partnered with a new student organization in Northern Utah called “Students Against Electronic Vaping”. While we are proud of our young residents for getting involved in issues they feel passionate about, we do feel their efforts are misguided. We shouldn’t have to remind our health departments, our legislature and our public what the real focus needs to be. Instead of fighting the vapor industry who is fighting against the tobacco industry, everyone should be focused on saving the 1,100 lives lost every year in Utah due to combustible tobacco.

Instead of using children to politicize a potential tax and deeper regulations on vapor products that are helping millions of ADULTS to remain smoke free, we believe the debate should focus on saving the lives of the Utah smokers. Continued attempts to tax and regulate vapor products in the same way as cigarettes is the wrong approach, potentially leading adults back to smoking deadly cigarettes. We all agree on the need to keep vapor products out of the hands of minors but applying tax and regulation that risks pushing 25,000 Utah ex-smokers back to smoking or preventing the over 225,000 smokers from switching, is just bad public health policy. Let’s place our focus on saving lives and enforcing the laws on the books and taking action against anyone supplying these products to underage children instead of applying a regressive tax on the consumers who need this product to remain smoke free.

You can be assured that we are prepped and ready for this session and expect our 45 day session to go quickly. We ask everyone to pay close attention to the site, our FB page, calls to actions, etc because once it starts, things are going to happen quickly and with little notice.

If you are a Utah vaping business member, care about someone who vapes or know someone who smokes that needs our help, please consider joining the organization or donating so we can continue our fight to help change lives. Visit our membership page to join or our about us page to donate today!

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