Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Utah Call to Action: Oppose HB 415 - Over-regulation that would limit access to low-risk, smoke-free vapor products

HB 415 (second substitute):

Having successfully staved off a massive tax threat, Utah vapers are now facing a new threat. HB 415, the Electronic Cigarette Regulation Act, still imposes various requirements on retailers and manufacturers that could potentially make Utah a regulatory island and cut consumers off from a variety of products.

Please take action now and send an email expressing opposition to HB 415, which would dangerously overregulate the sale and manufacturing of vapor products in Utah unless it is heavily amended.

Among other things, HB 415 (second substitute):

  • Defines e-cigarettes as tobacco product and requires retailers selling e-cigarettes to obtain a tobacco permit.  This is problematic for a number of reasons since classification as a tobacco product under Utah law subjects e-cigarettes to various other restrictions. Moreover, e-cigarette is broadly defined to include the device, and any accessories or components. “Electronic cigarette substance” is defined to include e-liquid as well as the raw ingredients used to create the e-liquid.

  • Contains labeling and child-resistant packaging requirements that are not tied to a federal standard, which would make it more difficult for out-of-state products to be sold in Utah.

  • The bill does not preempt local legislation on these issues, meaning that retailers and manufacturers may be subject to a host of confusing and potentially conflicting requirements at the state versus local level, further reducing consumer access to a variety of products.

  • Restricts advertising, which reduces adult awareness, and also prohibits online sales Requires e-liquids use pharmaceutical nicotine produced to USP pharmaceutical standards. This section is poorly written and the bill proposes no way for the Utah Health Department to pay for testing of these nicotine products.

Utah’s legislative session ends in a matter of days.The bill has been assigned to the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Standing Committee, and is scheduled to be heard at that committee’s meeting on Friday, March 6th at 8:00 A.M. (450 State Capitol).  It is imperative that vapers in Utah respond immediately to help defeat or force amendments to this bill. We will update this call to action as details arise.  You can also follow developments via Utah Smoke-Free Association here.

(Writing Tip #1) If you have a lot to say, please craft your email in a separate word doc and then copy/paste it into the field provided.  If you take too long, they system will time out and you will lose your work.

(Writing Tip #2) Although we've provided a prewritten email with compelling talking points, we would strongly encourage you to edit the email because personalized communications to legislators are far more persuasive than form letters.  At a minimum, PLEASE INSERT YOUR PERSONAL STORY (just a few sentences) in the text of your email.

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