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2nd showing of A Billion Lives

Thanks to the hard work by UTSFA member Riverwalk Vapors, Salt Lake City will have a 2nd showing for A Billion Lives.

The United Nations’ World Health Organization projects that a billion people will die this century from smoking. This award winning and Oscar contending documentary highlights the lies and corruption by top governments and health agencies around the world intent on allowing smokers to die all in the name of money.

Big brother has lied again…They’re trying to force an entire industry out of business that is helping people to stop smoking.    ~ Herman Cain

The truth about the corruption will be aired at 10pm on Thursday November 10th at Brewvies Cinema Pub in Salt Lake City. Smoking related disease kills Utah smokers at a rate of nearly 5 times that of the opioid epidemic and our state is not doing enough to fix the problem.

“The makers of this film did their due diligence, the narrative of this movie is immaculate.”     ~Kevin Crowley

Tickets are $13 each (with an add’l $1 processing fee) and must be purchased online via: https://www.tugg.com/events/a-billion-lives-bukd. The ticket fees cover the cost of the theater rental, fees for distribution (Tugg), production company costs and a percentage of the ticket sales are returned to the Utah Smoke Free Association to support statewide advocacy.

We encourage everyone in the community to reach out directly to their elected representatives to alert them to this premier and suggest they make the time to view it. The UTSFA is happy to provide tickets to them at no cost to them or the taxpayers but they will need to request it directly from us.

We have created a Facebook event to help show support and provide a location for people to discuss the event https://www.facebook.com/events/1365334500152088/

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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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A Billion Lives SLC

Thanks to the hard work by UTSFA member Riverwalk Vapors, Salt Lake City will be a host city for A Billion Lives.

The United Nations’ World Health Organization projects that a billion people will die this century from smoking. This award winning and Oscar contending documentary highlights the lies and corruption by top governments and health agencies around the world intent on allowing smokers to die all in the name of money.

Big brother has lied again…They’re trying to force an entire industry out of business that is helping people to stop smoking.    ~ Herman Cain

The truth about the corruption will be aired at 9:30pm on Thursday November 3rd at Brewvies Cinema Pub in Salt Lake City. The Utah Smoke Free Association has sent tickets to top Utah government officials, elected representatives, health agencies and media so they may attend and learn about the corruption many of them have unknowingly fallen prey to. Smoking related disease kills Utah smokers at a rate of nearly 5 times that of the opioid epidemic and our state is not doing enough to fix the problem.

“The makers of this film did their due diligence, the narrative of this movie is immaculate.”     ~Kevin Crowley

As of this posting, there are less than 60 tickets available for this one night only show. Tickets are $13 each (with an add’l $1 processing fee) and must be purchased online via: https://www.tugg.com/events/a-billion-lives-putz. The ticket fees cover the cost of the theater rental, fees for distribution (Tugg), production company costs and a percentage of the ticket sales are returned to the Utah Smoke Free Association to support statewide advocacy.

We encourage everyone in the community to reach out directly to their elected representatives to alert them to this premier and suggest they make the time to view it. The UTSFA is happy to provide tickets to them at no cost to them or the taxpayers but they will need to request it directly from us.

We have created a Facebook event to help show support and provide a location for people to discuss the event https://www.facebook.com/events/314815875557279/

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Fight for Vaping

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

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

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

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

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

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

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September 2016 Utah Regulations Update

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

You may review the revised rules by clicking here

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

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

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

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Casino night advocacy fundraiser

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The Utah Smoke Free Association and the Wyoming chapter of SFATA have teamed up for our 2nd annual Advocacy Casino Night fundraiser to support vaping advocacy. The majority of all proceeds raised will go to support the Right to be Smoke-Free Coalition (www.r2bsmokefree.org) and their legal fund for the FDA lawsuit and 100% of all proceeds will stay in advocacy.

Following Wyoming and Federal laws, this event is open to the public and you must be 18 or older with a valid government issued ID to enter – MUST HAVE CURRENT AND VALID ID TO ENTER, NO EXCEPTIONS

Admission is $10 (cash only) for entry only or $15 (cash only) if you want event entry PLUS the gift bag, casino points, beverage coupon & 5 prize tickets (only 50 gift bags available).

We have Casino Parties of Utah providing gambling fun for all participants from 5-9pm with Blackjack, Craps and Roulette tables. There will be food provided along with soda, beer and malt beverages (21+ strictly enforced) for an additional cost. We are also working on bringing in advocacy experts to talk to everyone about the federal and state battles to help each of you fight back against the unjust regulations.

Please see our Facebook event for full details: https://www.facebook.com/events/562646627270722/

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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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Utah Online Sales Prohibition

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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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Open statement from LorAnn Oils

LorAnnOpen statement from LorAnn regarding FDA compliance with their flavorings. If you are using them for your e-liquid recipes, you NEED to reformulate and have your reformulation invoiced by end of business on August 7th. Please see the following attachment for full details.

LorAnn May 2016 Statement Regarding FDA Tobacco Control Act

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UTSFA in Washington DC

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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.

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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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