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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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Utah Online Sales Prohibition

banned

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,fraud 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.

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Is Nicotine Carcinogenic?

Nicotine molecule chemical structure on blackboard. Chemical structure of nicotine from cigarettes written on blackboard by teacher in education of health. Nicotine molecule on green chalkboard.

People smoke for the nicotine but die from the tar” ~Michael Russell

Because of comments made by Representative Paul Ray at this week’s Health & Human Services Committee (starts at about 1hr 33min) where he claimed on public record that nicotine was carcinogenic, we felt it necessary to make sure the public was aware of the real truth rather than his desperate rhetoric he pulls from his bag of tricks.

First off, we want to address the comment regarding nicotine being a carcinogen. According to a study ordered by the Division of Lung Diseases of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), nicotine is not a significant risk of causing cancer hence all NRTs on the market today are rated as such by the FDA or other health agencies. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2725009/

Nicotine by itself does not cause cancer, but dozens of other chemicals found in tobacco products do“, according to researcher Virginia Reichert, NP; http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pulmonology/LungCancer/2039

 

 

addictionNext, we want to address the addictive nature of nicotine. According to numerous studies performed, it is the cocktail of ingredients and MAOIs in commercial tobacco which make it highly addictive. It is the substance giving the subjective pleasure of smoking. Smokers smoke for the nicotine, but die from the tar and toxic smoke.

In another study on the long-term effects of inhaled nicotine, the study could not find any increase in mortality, in atherosclerosis or frequency of tumors in the subject rats compared with controls. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8614291

Since so much credence is given to the FDA and their words of wisdom, the FDA has determined that there are no significant safety concerns with respect to long-term nicotine use. More specifically, the agency published a “Notice of Findings” in the Federal Register indicating that the long-term use of the nicotine-containing products was safe and does not appear to have significant potential for abuse or dependence. While this study was targeting Nicotine Replacement Therapy products, the nicotine used in ENDS is the same quality and source that the pharmaceutical giants use in their products. Therefore, just because the private market is using the liquid nicotine, does not change the carcinogenic nature of it.

https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/04/02/2013-07528/modifications-to-labeling-of-nicotine-replacement-therapy-products-for-over-the-counter-human-use

Another study of Alzheimer’s patients showed that those who used nicotine without A conceptual look at Alzheimers disease, and some of the problems it brings.smoking were better able to remember and pay attention than those who didn’t. Another study showed that nicotine boosted cognitive function in older people who didn’t have Alzheimer’s, but were showing signs of age-related mental decline.

According to Dr. Paul Newhouse, director of Vanderbilt University’s Center for Cognitive Medicine; “nicotine by itself isn’t very addictive at all and seems to require assistance from other substances found in tobacco to get people hookedIt seems very safe even in nonsmokers. In our studies we find it actually reduces blood pressure chronically. And there were no addiction or withdrawal problems, and nobody started smoking cigarettes. The risk of addiction to nicotine alone is virtually nil.”

http://www.tampabay.com/news/health/study-finds-nicotine-safe-helps-in-alzheimers-parkinsons/2175396

We can’t say this loud enough but ask that he and others in public health making any of these claims to actually review ALL research to avoid making public statements that are dangerous to the public you serve. Just one month of continued smoking is more dangerous than a lifetime of ENDS usage.

research

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UTSFA in Washington DC

utsfa_capitol

Last week, 9 representatives from the Utah Smoke Free Association Board and our membership attended the first Vapor Technology Association Conference in Washington D.C.  It was an amazing experience and I would encourage everyone to take part in it if the opportunity comes around again. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the VTA, they have been around about 8 months and have been involved in the industry for a few years now but officially became an association in fall of 2015. Tony Abboud, President of the Vapor Technology Association is a highly accomplished Government Relations Specialist, Lawyer and Lobbyist and it showed all week.

Tony Abboud kicked off the conference with Stacy Ehrlich following Tony’s introduction. Stacy is a partner at Kleinfeld, Kaplan and Becker LLP. She has also worked closely with the FDA in the regulation of tobacco products since early in the legislative process of the Family Smoking Control Act. Azim Chowdhury from Keller and Heckman followed Stacy with his take on the FDA regulations and what it will take for Retailers and Manufactures to comply with each individual deadline in the Deeming Rule. Next up on the Speaker list on Tuesday was Seth Mailhot, a Partner at Michael Best & Friedrich LLP. Mr. Mailhot worked for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from 1994 to 2006 in positions ranging from researcher, engineer, investigator and compliance officer. Following Seth Mailhot, a Lawyer named Marc J. Scheineson spoke in further detail about the Deeming Rule and his experiences with the FDA.

The Deeming Rule is going to affect this industry in a way that is nerve-racking to even anticipate but its important to recognize a few things. The amount of paperwork, studies and costs involved in PMTA’s are far from achievable for much of the industry. That being said, there are still things we can do. Supporting HR2058 and the Cole-Bishop Amendment is key. Both bills are now bi-partisan and making some great traction.

Tuesday evening we attended a surprise evening event across from the Capitol for a private screening of A Billion Lives presented by Aaron Biebert himself. Several staff members of various Senators across the nation attended and from what we heard, they received the information well.

utsfa_handcheckOn Wednesday June 8th, 2016 we began the day with a speech from Ashley Davis of West Front Strategies. Ashley is part of the lobbying team for the VTA and orchestrated the meetings on Capitol Hill with each of our State Senators and their staff. We individually met with the staff of Senators Mike Lee, Orrin Hatch, and Rob Bishop. In addition to asking for each of their support on the Cole-Bishop Amendment, we took the opportunity to educate our Senators about the products we use and the technology that has the opportunity to save 480,000 lives a year. Most were very receptive, interested in what we had to say and seemed like they wanted to help. We finished the day with a meeting with Mia Love and her staff. Her staff was the most engaged by far, took down several pages of notes and couldn’t hear enough from us. Once Senator Love came out of her office, it was nothing short of amazing. She offered her support of the Cole-Bishop Amendment and also made clear that once the Amendment in the Agricultural Bill is actually submitted as it’s own bill, she will support that as well! Senator Love is anti regulatory laws and committed to do whatever she can to help us out to save the industry and the jobs our industry provides.

UTSFA_MiaL

All in all, it was a very successful trip and we were able to educate individuals that know virtually nothing about our industry. If you haven’t sent your story to your Senators and Representatives, I would encourage you to do so as soon as possible. The standard assumption is that your voice may not be heard and your time wasted. I can promise you after the last few weeks, more State officials are becoming very interested in this matter and more then willing to listen. We have made some great progress as of late but the fight is far from over. If you have any further questions about what was discussed at the Conference, please contact Grant Hiller, Eddie Mock or Darrel Schildknecht for more info. Thanks for everything each of you are doing to keep this industry alive. Have a great day and we look forward to seeing you soon.

~Grant Hiller, Industry Director

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First Do No Harm

ignorance

Sometimes I’m amazed at people. Oftentimes it’s for the amazing talents or feats of a particular individual. Unfortunately, mostly it’s due to the amazing ability some people have to ignore fact and never move outside their mind filled with lies and prejudice; even at possible great harm to others. Case in point, read this recent post about the recent groundbreaking study out of the UK (go ahead, I’ll wait).

Now, imagine an individual in a position of influence at the state level. Someone who has the power to create and pass laws at will. Got him pictured? Good. *Note* it’s probably not who you are thinking. Now imagine him sitting behind his computer or smart phone and receiving an email with details of the new study. No embellishment. No commentary. Just actual information directly from the report. Not hard to imagine, right? One would think that someone intelligent enough to get himself elected, go through medical school and be a highly respected member of society would mean they actually take the time to educate himself and has an open enough mind to recognize that science can change and, well, facts are facts. Well…..a man much wiser than I once said “People don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed“.

So with that said, allow me to post some of his response to me and his capitol peers (in red italics) regarding this groundbreaking study he was essentially hand delivered but refused to read prior to responding. If you ask me who it was, I won’t tell you. I’m not the type of person to put an elected leader on blast publicly or hit “Reply to All” and make him appear foolish. That behavior in politics is foolish in it’s own right and simply is not productive. I just want to show my readers his foolishness so hopefully, maybe, he or one of his peers will see this and open their eyes to the truth. [edit – I’ve now received two responses so will try and address both at the same time]

  • I notice that you choose your terms carefully to avoid using the word Nicotine
    • Actually sir, none of the words are mine nor did I carefully choose anything nor avoid using any term. These are the words of the MOST RESPECTED MEDICAL ORGANIZATION IN THE BLOODY WORLD! Look em up. The Royal College of Physicians has over 35,000 doctors in it’s ranks and has been around longer than any and has influenced more groundbreaking health policy than any other.
  • Anyone who uses nicotine for any length of time whether vaping, smoking, chewing, or in patches or gums, will have a prolonged and difficult period of withdrawal if and when they try to break free of it.
    • According to the FDA, you know, those guys out East who YOU want to regulate our industry; well, they claim completely the opposite. The actually published a Notice of Findings in the Federal Register indicating that the “long-term use of the nicotine was safe and does not appear to have significant potential for abuse or dependence.”
    • Big Pharma uses study data from smokeless tobacco use in Sweden (Snus) as their basis for Nicotine Replacement Therapy. They claim, and the FDA supports the fact that “long-term nicotine consumption without smoke has no clinical significance.”
    • Lastly, according to Dr. Paul Newhouse, the director of Vanderbilt University’s Center for Cognitive Medicine (who has done extensive research into beneficial effects of nicotine on the brain); “Nicotine by itself isn’t very addictive at all. Nicotine seems to require assistance from other substances found in tobacco to get people hooked.”
  • Nicotine is the second most addicting substance that we know of (second only to heroin and the opioids).  And it is addicting in whatever form you take it.
    • While I’ll concede that nicotine creates a dependence, not addiction (there is a monumental difference and terminology is important), in those who use it; I bring you back to Dr Newhouse’s research above. His research, and that of virtually every producer of NRT products shows that “It seems very safe even in nonsmokers. In our studies we find it actually reduces blood pressure chronically. And there were no addiction or withdrawal problems, and nobody started smoking cigarettes. The risk of addiction to nicotine alone is virtually nil.”
  • Independent of the form it is taken in has been shown to cause cancers in intestines, lung, pancreas and breast.  It accelerates macular degeneration which causes blindness, and worsens emphysema and raises blood pressure.
    • I’m beginning to see something here now. When you think of vapor products, you must be able to cognitively separate nicotine from smoking. They are two separate subjects here. When nicotine is combine with tobacco smoke, you are 100% correct in that. However, nicotine by itself has never been shown to cause any cancers or the other issues you mention. Never. Ever. In fact, even the FDA, NIH and virtually every cancer center study in the world shows this.
  • Your industry continues to be dependent, as it has for many decades now, on getting yet another generation of the young addicted to nicotine
  • From second responder: We have a whole new group of people working for the tobacco companies that are simply not going to give up the billions of dollars generated from their addicted clients
    • Ahhh even more is clear. For reference, I do not work for nor does this organization receive funding from Big Tobacco. This industry is NOT Big Tobacco. This industry was NOT founded by Big Tobacco. The small business owners have zero financial ties to Big Tobacco. This industry, was founded by a…wait for it…MEDICAL DOCTOR! The over 15,000 small business owners and over 10 million adult consumers in the US are all ex-smokers who have a single goal, to eradicate combustible tobacco and Big Tobacco globally.
    • For a great history lesson (if you are even still reading at this point), here is a fantastic timeline of the industry.

I could continue but this post is already very long and frankly, I have more important things to work on than to respond to rhetoric that is spewed forth by someone who is too narrow minded to open their mind to the fact that science changes. Scientific study after study is proving that a prohibitionist approach is killing people. Claiming that we don’t know enough or there are not enough studies is doing nothing but proving ignorance or incompetence and I honestly have done everything possible to educate you. If your public that you represent along with over 300 scientific studies AND the largest, most respected and most prestigious medical organization in the world cannot convince you; then I wish you all the best in your career and I’ll pray for your patients.

I close by reminding you of an oath you took when you started your profession so very many years ago. Primum non nocere, which for those not speaking Latin is a phrase that means “first, do no harm; one of the core principals of the Hippocratic Oath. An oath YOU had to take in order to get through your prestigious university to get that fancy piece of paper on your office wall. This oath requires that you maintain an open mind and treat patients with the latest information available; not shove your head in the sand (or in other dark places) and ignore the facts.

Doing nothing or ignoring the facts is no different than doing actual harm to those you have pledged to care for. Doing nothing is tantamount to medical malpractice and the 1200 lives you allow to die because of your chosen ignorance is nothing short of genocide. But if you don’t believe in scientific advances don’t worry, it’s only A Billion dirty smokers Lives on the line….Nobody loves them, right?

harm

 

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FDA Predicate Date


UTSFA Logo
For Immediate Release
April 19, 2016

UTAH SMOKE FREE ASSOCIATION ON THE PASSAGE OF AMENDMENT PRESENTED BY REP. COLE & REP. BISHOP WHICH CHANGES THE FDA PREDICATE DATE FOR VAPOR PRODUCTS

 

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Today, the Utah Smoke Free Association (UTSFA) praises the U.S. House Appropriations Committee for their noble decision and decisive vote to approve an amendment that will, if passed by both House and Senate, prevents the Food and Drug Association (FDA) from applying a predicate date of February 2007 to vapor products thereby decimating over 99% of the 10’s of thousands of vapor businesses in operation today. Representative Tom Cole (R-OK) and Representative Sanford Bishop (D-GA) offered this amendment which passed with a vote of 31 to 19.

The UTSFA offers the following statement regarding the passage of the amendment. “This is an industry founded on the principles of harm reduction and it’s apparent that the committee understands the vital role vapor products play and will continue to play in preserving the health of Americans, especially that of smokers,” said Aaron Frazier, UTSFA’s Executive Director. “This is a disruptive technology that offers the best chance in history to help Utah’s 225,000 smokers take a life changing step away from combustible tobacco. We also commend Utah’s Representative Chris Stewart (R-UT) who sits on the committee for his vote on the amendment protecting the over 75 Utah industry small business owners and over 30,000 adult consumers.”

There have been mountains of misleading information released by the very agencies tasked with protecting public health. It is our hope that today’s action will provide these agencies with a wake up call that the current methods of cessation supported by them are ineffective with the over 40 million Americans who still choose to smoke combustible cigarettes.

The Utah Smoke Free Association fights for the rights of all Utah residents wishing to reduce the harms resulting from combustible tobacco. We urge all Utah’s smokers to try any method available to remove combustible tobacco from your life and the lives of your children, family members and friends. When traditional methods do not work, we recommend adult smokers visit a Vapor Specialty Retailer to discuss alternative options to combustible tobacco.

For accurate information on vapor products or for UTSFA membership information, please contact board@utsmokefree.org.

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April Regulation Update


regulationsThe Utah industry retail sales and manufacturing regulations are now final and available for all Utah retailers and all manufacturers who distribute through Utah retail operations. These regulations apply regardless of point of sale (C-Stores, Vape Shops, Smoke Shops, etc) and enforcement on them will begin on July 1st 2016. There are NO exceptions to the rules where refillable e-liquid is sold in bottle format. The only exception is for cartridges which are filled and pre-sealed at the manufacturing level (such as Blu, NJoy, etc).
Due to rumors and mis-information being spread around with the Utah industry, we want to specifically address a few points to ensure everyone understands fact from fiction:

  1. There are NO requirements to use a specific type of bottle or banning the use of certain types of bottles.
  2. The Nicotine Warning label is required on EVERY bottle of e-liquid regardless of point of sale. The label size must be at least 20% of the largest panel of the bottle which means; if the bottle is round the label must be 20% of the entire surface area of the bottle. There are also specific fonts, colors and a VERY specific statement that must be on this 20% space. No other language is allowed in this space. After-market labels are allowed and will be provided to members at no cost. Additional labels for non-members will be available for sale in June.
  3. A tamper-evident warning must be included on the label or as an after-market label and cannot be removed by removing the tamper-evident seal.
  4. Batch/Lot numbers must be either on the label or laser etched into the bottle.

 

The UTSFA will be providing after-market labels for the nicotine warning and tamper-evident warning to all members at no cost as part of your membership into the organization (up to 50,000 total). Additional labels will be available for purchase for all current and non-members through VC Wholesale in June (link to be published soon).
All details of the final regulations can be found by clicking on the PDF image below.

acrobatpdf

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2016 Sine Die

sinedie“House file for bills not passed” is one of the most exciting things we as advocates can hope to see on a bill during a legislative session – at least when the bill it references targets the industry we love so much. This was seen THREE times during this session!

The legislative session has ended and we have been victorious at beating back the Tobacco21 movement for this year in addition to TWO attempts at taxation. This was no small undertaking and took tremendous footwork by not only our organization and our lobbyists but all in the vaping community. It’s no secret that this year was our most intense battle yet with old lies being renewed and new lies being created. We had to go toe to toe with a new high school organization that had their targets set on the industry. While there were high points and low points in this year’s battle, in the end we managed to once again protect over 25,000 consumers, 75 business owners and close to 900 industry employees.

I want to talk about Rep Paul Ray for just a moment. There are some who feel that we don’t go after him enough in a more direct fashion; especially for his use of children as pawns to get his legislation passed. While we do agree that using children as pawns is poor behavior for any politician, we will not directly attack him for it regardless of how many kids get bussed into the capitol. We’ve worked the Utah political scene long enough to know that when you back someone with a personal agenda (some would argue vendetta) into a corner and force them into a defensive posture, it makes them angrier and more prone to combative behavior; which during a legislative session is VERY dangerous and akin to lighting a powder keg. Actions like this can have severe consequences on the outcome and we are not willing to risk the longevity of the industry for “personal satisfaction”; at least not during an active session. To us, having the “stones” means knowing the most appropriate times to use them and when not to.

Politics is not a short game. It is a long strategic game of chess that takes weeks…months. This legislative session, we worked MANY angles behind the scenes to ensure a win which most generally do not see and you’ll rarely hear us talk about. We not only have our lobbyists we work extremely closely with during the session but other allies and supporters we don’t discuss in public as it would damage our strategy. In all this year, we worked closely with 3 other lobbyists, 4 national organizations and a few inside ‘spies’ in the capitol who were in our corner fighting for us. These are relationships that took years to develop and ones that would not have occurred if we always took an attack posture with anyone that tries to pass legislation against our industry. Good politics is not about winning or losing, it’s about finding the most suitable middle ground that all parties can live with.

On to the best part – gratitude. First off, we can’t say “thanks” enough to our lobbyists Andrew & Charlie. These guys put up with LOTS of flack from the legislators because of decisions we make and directions we take; sometimes that change on a whim. Every action we take on our side, angers some at the capitol and these guys bear almost 100% of the criticism and do it with the utmost professionalism and calm attitude. They are in our corner fighting 365 days of the year and are constantly working to improve our industry’s image to the elected leaders. Without these guys up there, this summary would be a very different one this year. They earn every penny of their fees and without solid membership in the organization, we couldn’t fight the bills in the way needed to ensure victory.

Next, we want to thank everyone who took the time to attend the various hearings this year, send emails and make phone calls. Not only did quite a few within the vaping community show up to be seen and heard, but we had our business owners. LOTS of business owners. In fact, we had more business owners participate in the session this year than any year prior. Most of the businesses closed for half the day during the HB333 hearing so all their employees could participate (a first!). We had great testimony this year from not only the UTSFA but from SFATA and VaporLoc owner Brad Parsons who brought one of his many books containing personal success stories from his customers. I (Aaron) personally would also like to thank our President Tad Jensen for agreeing to testify while I was down with the flu during the final days of the session. Testifying in front of a committee on a critical bill is never easy and he accepted the challenge with the utmost desire to protect our entire community.

We want to thank Paul Blair with Americans for Tax Reform and Jeff Stier with the National Center for Public Policy. Jeff took precious time out of his ski vacation in Park City to spend with us at the Capitol helping us convey our message of #ABillionLives and #IVapeIVote. Paul happened to be in town fighting another bill and took the time out of those discussions to help us on HB333 specifically. Lastly, we made new connections with Americans for Prosperity who agreed with us that taxation on the industry is bad and used their resources to help in the fight as well. These groups all believed in our position so much, we didn’t have to spend extra funds to hire external lobbying resources as we had planned for.

We had CASAA working hard to keep our Utah CASAA members and those around the globe informed of our fight. Fist bumps and hugs to Alex and Julie for spending time during what ended up being a heavy travel period for their organization to keep the CTAs updated and accurate. We worked closely with Libertas Utah who support our industry goals and worked hard on their side to keep these bills from gaining added support.

We also had more media attention from around the world on the bills from outlets we never would have thought of. It’s apparent that the fight for vaping is catching the attention of journalists around the world and they all appear to be awakened at the dishonesty of taxing ex-smokers.

So with that, thank you. Thanks to every vaper in Utah and around the world. Thanks to every business owner who fought to save your business. Thanks to our advocacy friends from around the country who believe in the Utah community enough to help fend off the attacks. Thanks to our elected leaders at the capitol such as Senator Mark Madsen and Senator Jim Dabakis who saw through the lies and smoke and continue to support our efforts. And thanks to each of you for continuing to have trust in the Utah Smoke Free Association to keep vaping legal and available to the adults in the state.

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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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UTSFA responds to cyber bullying

25 February 2016, 18:00
For immediate release

The Utah Smoke Free Association received reports through the media of cyber bullying and threats against our Utah youth in regards to vapor products and pending legislation on the industry. While we as an industry may not see eye to eye on public policy with Representative Ray, we do stand side by side with him that this type of behavior is completely unacceptable. If credible threats have been made, we will work as closely as possible with the appropriate authorities to assist in their investigations to hold those responsible to account so we can bring this situation to a close.

Aaron Frazier
Executive Director
Utah Smoke-Free Association

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