Call to Action
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The Utah Smoke Free Association is committed to serving the e-cigarette and vaping community as part of our core principals. The 2016 legislative session begins on January 25th and we have new battles bearing down on us which require our laser focus and financial commitment:
- E-Cigarette Taxation – Rep. Paul Ray
- Tobacco Age Limit Increase – Rep. Kraig Powell
- E-Cigarette regulations (committed by Rep. Paul Ray but not yet filed)
We have things planned to help fend off this legislation which will require a financial commitment from our organization and the industry as a whole; but they are necessary to survive in the Utah industry. Because this legislation also affects the availability of products for the adult consumers in the state, we are asking everyone in the community consider their support to protect the longevity of the industry. All funds raised through this campaign will be reserved exclusively for bringing in the necessary experts to help protect the industry.
Please see our official Legislative Fundraiser page for full details on how to help protect vaping in Utah. If we lose this battle, the photo below is what will happen in 2016…
For Immediate Release
11 December 2015, 11:00am MST
Utah Smoke Free Association reminds parents of the dangers of nicotine containing e-liquid.
This week, there was an unfortunate incident involving a 9-month old child and e-liquid used with vapor products. According to the media report <http://www.good4utah.com/news/local-news/as-e-cigs-become-widespread-so-do-their-hazards-baby-ingests-dads-nicotine-juice-in-north-ogden>, the father of the child left an open bottle of e-liquid containing nicotine at a location where the child could easily access it. The child then proceeded to orally consume an unreported amount of the liquid and became ill resulting in a trip to the emergency room. We are releived that the medical staff reports the child will make a full recovery and is not expected to incur any long term harm.
This is the first known incident in Utah such as this and we would like to remind everyone of the necessary safety protocols relating to e-liquid and vapor products. While it’s believed that the bottle used did employ child-resistant caps, the father did not have the cap on the bottle and the bottle was on the floor within the child’s access. It is important to remind every consumer of vapor products (e-cigarettes, vape pens, etc) that e-liquid which contains nicotine is potentially deadly if orally consumed; moreso for small children. E-liquid, like all other chemicals, must always be kept with the cap tightly secured and must always be kept out of the reach of children.
Children are naturally curious and will explore their surroundings. We have seen many instance over the years with children consuming laundry pods, medications, cosmetics, etc leading them to trips to the hospital to treat the exposures. We ask that every consumer of vapor products ensure the products stay well out of reach of children whether you have children in your home or where you may be in the home where small children are present. There are several signs of nicotine poisoning including drooling, agitation, vomiting, rapid heart rate, and seizures. While the child did not exhibit any of these symptoms, it’s important to remember the safety. E-liquid and vapor products of all types should be treated no differently than you would treat standard household chemicals such as cleaners and bleach. All chemicals, medications and vapor products must be kept out of reach of children and we ask that anyone with small children in your homes to please follow this warning.
We remind every retailer of vapor products to educate your customers on the dangers of the products where children are present in their homes. If an overdose or accidental exposure occurs, please seek immediate medical help or contact a poison control center by calling 1-(800) 222-1222.by
The Utah Smoke Free Association is a consumer driven non-profit 501(c)4 trade organization comprised of a consumer governed Board of Directors. All positions are volunteer and serve a term of 12-24 months unless the position is resigned. All Board of Directors and Officer positions will be nominated by the public and voted on by the UTSFA General Members along with the existing Board of Directors. Per our official By-Laws, the Board of Directors must be comprised of 5 individuals; 3 consumers and 2 from the industry (owners or employees). Consumers on the board may not be affiliated in any way with the industry. Officers are not required as part of our By-Laws and do not have voting authority but add to the leadership and skills and help spread the work out amongst a larger group.
We are currently accepting nominations for 3 positions:
- Consumer Director (no industry affiliation)
- Industry Director (must be industry owner/employee)
- Secretary/Treasurer (Officer – prefer no industry affiliation but will consider all)
Nominees must be passionate about the vaping industry and who have a passion for advocating to keep our industry legal and active in the Utah community. The leadership team meets regularly throughout the year to address legislative issues, work to improve the industry image through media and public relations, and work with the industry on compliance.
The time commitment is generally less than 8 hours per month; with legislative months being the most active and requiring additional time commitment. You must have great skills in building and maintaining relationships but no prior experience with the role is required; just a passion to serve the community which has helped so many people over the last 10 years. The Secretary/Treasurer position is a combined position and therefore is a bit more involved with our finances and generally keeping everyone organized so we do prefer some experience in the field but anyone will be considered.
Self-nomination is acceptable and encouraged!
All nominations close at midnight on December 23rd. The Board of Directors will review all nominations and elections will begin on or about January 2nd. You can nominate using the form below however if the form does not appear, please use the direct link to the form here:
Public comment is now being accepted on the Utah “Electronic Cigarette Substance Standards – Rule R384-415”. Details of how to participate are at the bottom of this message but we ask that you please review the full details below in addition to the proposed rules prior to submitting comment.
The passage of HB415 during the 2015 legislative session required that the Utah Department of Health convene a special committee comprised of industry and health agency stakeholders to design e-liquid regulations for labeling, nicotine content, packaging, and product quality. For the last 3 months, the Utah Smoke Free Association along with other industry stakeholders have been participating in the committee to provide input and help guide the design of the rules.
Although the UTSFA participated in the committee, we are unable to support the proposed rules. We feel the impact on the industry and small business owners were completely ignored and believe that the proposed regulations will force non-Utah manufacturers to cease distribution of their products through all retail channels in Utah. This will force most vapor specialty retailers out of business due to the inability to provide products to the consumers in the state; leaving over 600 Utah families facing unemployment. We also believe that by placing stricter regulations on the vapor industry than what is currently required of the tobacco industry, Utah is clearly stating they support Big Tobacco over small business owners who are trying to help Utah residents break free from traditional tobacco.
The proposed rules apply to ALL retail operations (including gas stations, c-stores, smoke shops and vapor specialty businesses) and distributors selling bottled e-liquid to Utah residents or Utah retail operations; or for any e-liquid manufacturers within the state of Utah. This also includes all e-liquid manufactured outside of Utah and sold through Utah retail and/or distribution channels. Despite comments made by the Utah Department of Health, the proposed regulations will have significant impact on all retail / distribution channels who sell refillable e-liquid and Utah based manufacturers. We firmly believe these regulations will force specialty retailers to close their doors permanently due to the inability to stock products that meet the overburdensome regulations.
If e-liquid manufacturers are unable to comply with even one item in the regulations, sales of the product will be prohibited. Unfortunately only the retailer of e-liquid products holds full accountability for any financial enforcement penalties; up to and including revocation of their e-cigarette or tobacco sales license.
We encourage all business owners & stakeholders (regardless of retail type) who sell or manufacture e-liquid to participate in the public comment period and request the regulations be stricken from HB415 and revisited in 2016 in a more considered and balanced approach to both the health of our residents AND impact to the industry. Consumers are also encouraged to participate. Please review the proposed regulations along with our simplified breakdown at the following links before submitting public comment to ensure you understand the full impact of the proposal.
A copy of the proposed regulations can be found here: http://www.rules.utah.gov/publicat/bulletin/2015/20151015/39797.htm
A simplified version of the regulations can be found here: Proposed Rule R384-415
For Retailers, your comments should include:
- Estimated annual financial impact to comply with R384-415-10 Record Keeping and Testing.
- Estimated monthly financial loss if non-Utah e-liquid suppliers will no longer ship to your location due to the regulations
- Potential loss of sales due to nicotine content restrictions (see above “Proposed Rule R384-415 document)
- Number of employees affected if the regulations force the closure of your business
For Manufacturers, your comments should include:
- Estimated annual financial costs for;
- Financial impact of any label redesign
- Financial impact for the implementation of a batch tracing system
- Financial impact of nicotine testing of every batch manufactured
- Financial impact of packaging modification (CRC caps/tamper evident seals)
- Potential loss of sales due to nicotine content restrictions (see above “Proposed Rule R384-415 document)
For consumers, your comments should include:
- What you will do if your preferred e-liquid brands are no longer available.
- What you will do if vapor products are no longer available in Utah due to the over-regulation of the industry.
- If you are employed by one of the estimated 70 vapor businesses, what impact would you and your family experience if you suddenly became unemployed because of the over-regulation.
The public comment period runs from 5pm on October 15th through 5pm on November 16th. All comments submitted will become public record and viewable to the public so please keep all comments factual and professional. All comments must be emailed to Luke Chalmers firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: Comments on Proposed Rule R384-415. You are also welcome to include the UTSFA on your email by copying email@example.com
At the completion of the public comment period, the rules may be modified where deemed appropriate by the Utah Dept. of Health followed by submission to the Legislative Administrative Rules Committee for their review and approval. We believe this will occur sometime between November 16th and the end of the year. Per requirements in HB415, the rules must be completed and signed off by January 1st with enforcement beginning on July 1st 2016.
We have also organized 2 industry conference calls over the next 2 weeks where we will discuss the regulations, the anticipated impact on the industry and answer any questions you may have. Click the date & time below for the invites with dial information.
Call 1 – Friday October 23rd, 3:30-5:00 PM
Call 2 – Thursday October 29th, 4:00-5:30 PM
If you have any questions on the regulations or would like to make phone contact, please use our contact page and submit a request to the Board of Directors.by
My vaping family. Once again, Utah is about to come under attack from the legislation. We heard via a recent city council meeting that Representative Ray is drafting a taxation bill for the upcoming legislative session. As you all know, he attempted to tax us twice previously and we were able to defeat it however both times it was very close. Based on historical evidence, there will be another attempt to tax all products sold in Utah at 86.5% of wholesale cost which will nearly double the purchase price of every product sold AND manufactured in the state. This affects everyone. Every e-liquid manufacturer. Every distributor. Every retail shop. And worst of all, over 20,000 of our Utah vaping family.
We need to get everyone on board NOW to fight this back. Despite what many believe, beating legislation does not begin during the session, it begins BEFORE it even begins. The next 3 months will be critical in our ability to ensure our industry remains without a punitive excise tax put into place to protect the tobacco industry. The only way we can win, is for every business owner to get involved immediately. If we lose this battle, the Utah industry will be shut down by next summer. Ask yourselves, do you want to remain in this industry more than 8 more months? Are you a consumer and truly value the industry that has changed your life?
To get involved, visit our membership page immediately. We offer full membership into the association or varying levels of sponsorship. All funds collected go into the organization to pay for the lobbyists that fight for YOUR rights to remain in business or to keep vaping accessible and remain free of combustible tobacco. What is your business worth? What’s your life worth?
For more information on membership or sponsorships, please visit the membership page: http://utsmokefree.org/directory/professional/
If you would rather make a one-time donation to help in the battles, you can do that via our donation page: http://utsmokefree.org/about/donate
This meeting is open to everyone in the Utah vapor industry to get a comprehensive update on our existing laws & regulations and get a view into the future for what is coming down the path affecting our industry. If you own a business and want to remain in business after July 1 2016, it will be in your best interest to attend to understand how regulations will affect you. Please note, this is NOT a vape meet and no alcohol will be allowed or served.
Many of the retailers throughout the valley will be shutting down for this meeting. While a loss in sales for a day is nothing we want for any of our local retailers, the permanent loss in sales is more devastating and they want to try and make sure this doesn’t happen. Signs will be posted on the doors of all retailers who are participating in the shutdown in advance so you all know who are taking part in the shutdown.
Anyone who owns a Utah vapor industry business, is employed by the industry or who wishes to break into the industry. This is a public event so anyone with an interest in what is going on or those who would like to get involved and help out should attend as well.
What’s being discussed?
We’ll cover all the existing laws in the state to make sure everyone understands the legalities of operating correctly. We will discuss the recent introduction of HB415 and how that affects everyone. We will also discuss upcoming county and state level regulations from the health department along with regulations in other states (specifically Texas, Indiana & California) which affect anyone selling nationally.
Clubhouse event door code is 071885
- Vapor Dreams
- Vapor Craziness
- ElectronicStix – all 3 locations
- Vape Affliction
- Vapor Logic
- EB Vapors
Something big is happening in Congress this week. Your U.S. House Representative is on an important committee needs to hear from you. Please read the below information carefully and follow the instructions.
Thursday, June 25, 2015 (Postponed until sometime after the 4th of July holiday weekend), the U.S. House Appropriations Committee will consider an appropriations funding bill that contains a provision that is vital to the future of the e-cigarette and vapor product market. This bill would ensure that FDA regulation does not lead to 99%+ of vapor products being removed from the market (i.e., banned).
There are 53 members of this committee and U.S. House representative Chris Stewart from Utah is one of them. He needs to hear from everyone in his district.
This needs action by Thursday June 25th.
Click here for details on HR2058: Support HR 2058 Briefing
District 2 boundaries: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/UT/2 (all points South of Kaysville to I-80, including Tooele county then 1-15 at Scipio south to the Utah border, including Cedar City, St George & Washington)
Please review the map at the above link to closely to determine your location within the district. If you are not in district 2, you may disregard this message.
I recommend following up your phone call with an email and tweets supporting the call you made. His phone numbers, email and twitter details are as follows:
DC Office: 202-225-9730
It is CRITICAL that before Thursday, you reach out to Representative Stewart at their DC office and speak to a staff member about two things:
- Why they should support the Section 747 (Page 86) of the funding bill the House Appropriations Committee will consider on Thursday
- Why they should cosponsor H.R. 2058, which will make the changes permanent.
*BUSINESS OWNERS — IMPORTANT INFO*
– Call the D.C. office of your Congress representative during normal office hours. The number can be found on their website.
– Do NOT just communicate your position to the person who answered the phone. You are a business owner in the Congressman or Congresswoman’s district — you can get further up the chain than a normal person but you will need to ask.
– Tell the operator that picks up:
My name is ____. I am a small business owner in Rep. Stewart’s district. There is a vote coming up in the Appropriations Committee on Thursday that is extremely important to my business, my employees, and my customers. Before Thursday, I was hoping I could speak to either Rep. Stewart or a member of his staff that deals with Appropriations Committee issues.”
– If they ask you for a summary of the issue:
“On Thursday, the Appropriations Committee will consider a funding bill for the FDA and other agencies. I want Rep.Stewart to support Section 747 of the bill and fight back against any attempts to remove it. It would save my business from being shut down by overbearing FDA regulations. I want Rep. Stewart to know that this bill would not stop the FDA from regulating e-cigarettes and vapor products, but it would just stop them from banning over 99% of products already on the market. Without this fix, my business and thousands of other stores just like mine will be shut down. Additionally, I’d like him / her to co-sponsor HR 2058, which would make the fix permanent.”
Remember, before Thursday, you want to talk to a staffer who works on Appropriations Committee issues about this issue.
If you can generate calls from your employees / customers, GREAT. The simple message that they should deliver is this: “Please co-sponsor HR 2058.” That’s it. Just tell them to leave an address but make sure you are in his district otherwise the message will likely be ignored or passed over to another Rep that cannot take action.by
After defeating the attempts of vapor industry taxation during the 2013 and 2015 legislative session, a promise was made by Representative Paul Ray that it was not the end and the taxation would return. We now have the unfortunate duty to report that the Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee will be discussing this taxation at their upcoming legislative committee hearing.
Hearing Details: Wednesday, June 17, 2015 • 2:30 p.m. • Room 445, Main State Capitol building
The Utah Smoke Free Association will be at the hearing with our lobbying team to oppose any and all attempts to penalize our industry with an excise (sin) tax. We ask that you please email and call the members of the committee requesting that they oppose this attack on vapor products, which are a scientifically documented reduced-risk substitute for smoking. Please contact the members of the interim committee via email, twitter (where available) and phone and ask them to reject any attempt to apply excise taxes on products that Utah residents are using to remain tobacco & smoke-free.
We also encourage you to reach out to your individual legislative representatives and ask for their support in opposing all attempts to apply a punitive tax against you as a voter. If you don’t know who represents you, you can locate them here: http://le.utah.gov/GIS/findDistrict.jsp
Semicolon separated email list: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com;
Comma separated email list: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com,
Twitter List (please tag @utsmokefree in all tweets if room allows)
Suggested talking points:
- Vapor products are already taxed as consumer products and most public policy experts believe that raising the cost of vapor products would create a disincentive for smokers to transition to these tobacco-free and smoke-free products.
- In the last 5 years, vapor products have helped an estimated 15,000 adult Utah smokers successfully switch to a scientifically documented less harmful and smoke-free alternative. Increasing the costs of products that stand to improve these peoples’ health risks re-exposing thousands of Utah’s children back to second hand smoke exposure which flies in the face of the public health initiatives.
- Utah is recognized as one of the best places to start a business and Vapor specialty retailers and manufacturers occupy an estimated 65,000 sq feet and approximately 75 leased years of property throughout the state of Utah. A punitive tax risks destroying all of this.
- Raising taxes on vapor products will have a net-opposite effect due to over 50 main-street Utah businesses closing their doors due to the inability to compete in the global industry; placing the burden on the state due to over 500 Utah families on unemployment, in bankruptcy and in the state assistance programs.
CASAA and other organizations will be releasing similar calls to action so the response is expected to be large. Make sure you indicate in your email and phone calls that you are a Utah resident (include the city) so they recognize you are a voting delegate. If you are a supporter of the UTSFA or any other state or national THR Advocacy association, please include that in the closing of your email as well.
We encourage you to post any responses you receive in the comments here so everyone can see the details of the replies. The hearing is open to the public and testimony is encouraged from every shop owner, manufacturer and consumer statewide. If you choose to attend and testify, please review the tips on testimony in a legislative environment.
If anyone has any questions on this, please feel free to use the contact form above to get in touch with the board of directors.by
I want to thank everyone for coming out to the capitol on Friday to help fight HB0415. An amendment was introduced at the session which we did not have sufficient time to review in a great amount of detail but was not a big improvement. It was certainly a very different hearing than they have been in prior years – much calmer and professional which I attribute to hiring our lobbyists to negotiate behind the scenes and also a session with no direct attack on the consumer base of the industry.
While the bill was passed out “favorably” to move into the next phase, there was enough disagreement brought to light and was agreed by Ray himself that more work was needed. You can listen to the audio of the session at the following link (21:00 mark) http://utahlegislature.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=8&clip_id=18791
We will continue working behind the scenes and are meeting with our lobbyists over the weekend to determine the next steps. As it stands currently, the bill is really not improved over the version introduced so more action will be needed. As soon as we have an opportunity to discuss it and map out the necessary actions, we will communicate it to everyone. I will note that full details of our planned actions may not be widely shared as our posts and communications are being closely monitored.
Remember, this is a chess match and each side are planning their moves and counter moves. We are working on the next 10 moves and believe we have a strong chance at winning this match but it will take a series of coordinated and well thought out moves. Please remain patient while we work through things…by
Well we told ya’ll things were going to happen quickly and we now have an official Call to Action with only 7 business days left in the legislative session. This Call to Action will be primarily for business owners as this is where the vast majority of the impact will be; however all members of the vaping community are welcome to attend and participate. We anticipate that committees will be suspended sometime on Monday (common action during the final week of the session) so this may be the only opportunity for us to make a vocal public opposition.
- What: House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Standing Committee
- When: Friday, March 6, 2015 8:00 AM
- Where: Main Capitol building (with dome), room 450
- Details: HB0415 is 3rd on the agenda but is behind the proposed bill for the prison relocation. We anticipate a VERY heavily attended meeting as a result of the prior bill so patience will be needed in the event there is the level of debate we anticipate. I anticipate you will need to block off the first half of your day for this.
So here are the stumbling points with this bill that our Board and our Members have problems with:
- We will not support the bill on any level without a FULL preemption clause which would make this bill the “law of the land” and overrule all county level regulations. As it is written today, this is another set of regulations over and above the existing county level regulations. We cannot support regulation that requires retailers/manufacturers to follow both unique county and state regulations as this will put a stop to product flow from out of state and make it nearly impossible for in-state retailers/manufacturers to function. This is not a current practice for ANY other industry in the state OR country.
- Permit: We do support the permitting of retailers but we do not support the language that locks retailers/manufacturers into their B&M locations. The state allows firearms dealers to set up at trade shows (and allows children to attend) thus we will not support the bill so long as this language remains preventing a retailer from fair trade in the open market. If this language is removed, we can support this piece of the proposal.
- Child-resistent caps: While we as an industry support this and have confirmed that all our member retailers only carry liquids using these caps, the language in the bill must reference federal standards so Utah does not create unique regulations that differ from federal standards. If this language is modified, we can support this piece of the proposal.
- Labeling: While we as an industry support this and have confirmed that all our member retailers only carry liquids using proper labels, the language in the bill must reference federal standards so Utah does not create unique regulations that differ from federal standards. If this language is modified, we can support this piece of the proposal.
- Definition of Electronic Cigarettes: We object the definition of electronic cigarettes being modified to include “any component of or accessory of”. This is subjective and could include wires, circuits, switches, glass & metal tubes and other products. We will not support the bill so long as this language is included.
- Definition of Electronic Cigarette Substance (e-liquid): Based on the current definition, this would include the raw ingredients of PG, VG, and food flavoring available for purchase at every hobby store, department store and grocery store throughout the state. We will not support the bill so long as this language is included.
As you can see, there are several points that we are not willing to negotiate on as it will negatively affect the industry for no purpose other than regulating for the sake of regulation. Members of the board will be present at the committee meeting along with the membership business owners. We will be delivering a formal statement to the committee and wider House of Representatives by tomorrow evening.
If you plan to attend and speak, I would ask that you please:
- Let us know in advance so we can organize our combined talking points to avoid duplication and ensure we stay on topic for ONLY what is contained in the bill.
- Dress to impress: Remember, we are in a FORMAL environment and the people we will be speaking to will be in suits and professional business attire. You will gain more respect by dressing to the environment. Hats, t-shirts, torn jeans, etc are not considered professional attire.
- Watch your language: it’s easy to let your emotions take control and “speak your mind” however if you do this, you will defeat what we are trying to do and cause our industry to lose the respect. Remember, respect is given through your actions and your words more than who you are or represent.
While this is a public CTA, this bill primarily affects our industry business owners so we will ask that the limited speaking time we will be granted be reserved for the business owners who have the most at stake where possible. If you are unable to attend but would like to issue written testimony for the record, you can email the committee by copying and pasting the below recipients into an email with your feedback. Please remember however, keep it professional, civil and without insults or religious insinuations.
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
We also recommend contacting your individual legislative representatives separately asking them to oppose this bill as it is currently presented (version 1). You can locate your legislative representatives by going here and entering your address and zip code: http://le.utah.gov/GIS/findDistrict.jsp
If you have any questions between now and Friday, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of our leadership team.by