Utah Bans Online Vaping Purchases

Thousands of Utah vapers will have no legal access to vapor products

31
Utah

Utah has passed a law making online purchases illegal by residents after July 1. According to Aaron Frazier, executive director of the Utah Smoke-Free Association, the law prohibits citizens of Utah from buying any vaping related products, including e-liquid, from any business except in a face-to-face transaction.

And since Utah has encouraged local zoning laws that make brick-and-mortar businesses nearly impossible to open in many areas, many of Utah’s estimated 35,000 vapers will have no access to lifesaving vape products at all. “We fear that this will drive these non-smokers to return to smoking combustible tobacco and elevating the state’s smoking rates after historic declines thanks in part to vapor products,” Frazier wrote in a post on the UTSFA website.

The law had been promoted as a licensing bill. None of the organizations that reviewed it originally caught the carefully hidden language that will prevent online sales in the state. The UTSFA has been working to change the law for months, but just became aware that it cannot be changed in time to prevent the ban on July 1. Frazier says how the state will enforce the law is unknown.

Rep. Paul Ray: vapers' nemesis

Rep. Paul Ray
Rep. Paul Ray (Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune)

The law is the work of Utah Rep. Paul Ray, who has fought against the vaping industry with a fanatical, almost religious zeal for years. Utah vapers have fought and beaten his efforts in the state legislature several times, including a bill earlier this year that would have imposed an 86.5 percent tax on vapor products, and two other attempts to tax vapor. Ray has referred to vape businesses as “the scumbag industry.”

Ray consistently misrepresents Utah’s vaping businesses as being affiliated with the tobacco industry. “[Tobacco companies] know that if they can’t addict a new generation to tobacco, they will go out of business in the next 20 years,” he told the Salt Lake Tribune in March. “E-cigarettes are how they are going to addict that next generation.” He brought 300 school children into the capitol for a hearing in an attempt to pull at the heartstrings of legislators during a hearing.

According to Frazier, the online sales prohibition “is due to language that was added into 2015 HB 415 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…and 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.”

What should vapers do now?

Get Involved

The UTSFA believes the law is a direct violation of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, which gives Congress the sole power to regulate interstate trade. But a federal lawsuit is a very expensive proposition, so that will probably be a last resort after attempting to change the law through legislation. Nevertheless, the association has taken steps to prepare for a fight by joining the Vapor Technology Association (VTA) and retaining Keller and Heckman, the law firm that is also handling the federal lawsuit in Indiana and the Right to be Smoke-Free Coalition suit challenging the FDA’s deeming regulations.

Vapers and vendors can contribute to the UTSFA legal fund. It’s crucially important for Utah vapers — and the family members and friends that benefit from their vaping — to make themselves heard. The state has crafted laws that will prevent smokers from switching to vaping, and ultimately will do nothing but protect cigarette sales. If there are 35,000 vapers in Utah, there should be at least that many letters written to state representatives and senators suggesting they repeal the online ban in the next legislative session.

SHARE
Jim McDonald
I spend most of my time studying the regulatory, legislative and scientific challenges to vaping, advocating for our right to exist, and talking with others who do the same. Consider me a source for information, and feel free to agree or disagree with anything I say. I love good coffee and sweet Michigan cherries. My childhood hero was Gordie Howe.
  • DALE MCCOLLOUGH

    I WAS IN UTAH AT THE BEGINNING OF JUNE 2016 AND I THOUGHT TO MYSELF, “HOW BEAUTIFUL IT IS HERE.” NOW I READ THIS STORY AND I AM SHOCKED. OBVIOUSLY THIS FELLA PAUL RAY IS A NON SMOKING INDIVIDUAL AND HAS NEVER SMOKED A CIGARETTE IN HIS “MORMON” LIFE. I COME FROM BAMA AND STARTED SMOKING AT 13 AND “VAPING” HAS SAVED ME FROM CIGARETTES ALL TOGETHER. ALABAMA IS “SUPPOSEDLY” A VERY RELIGIOUS STATE, ALTHOUGH I FOUND MANY JUDGMENTAL PEOPLE THERE. THIS IS A SAD TIME FOR THE PEOPLE OF UTAH. MAYBE THEY SHOULD LEAVE AND GO TO ARIZONA OR NEVADA. IF THEY LEFT THE STATE, IT MAY REVERSE THE NEW LAW GOING INTO AFFECT. I THINK THIS IS RETARDED AND JUST PLAIN RIGHT STUPID. THE STATE OF UTAH IS NOT GOING TO “BENEFIT” ONE WAY SHAPE OR FORM FROM NOT HAVING SALES ONLINE. AND THIS GUY PAUL RAY HAS SPENT DOLLARS, MAYBE SHED SOME TEARS, CURSED SOME OR A LOT AND PROBABLY LOST SLEEP OVER ALL THIS. THIS IS JUST RETARDED.

    • SMH2much

      Where does it say he’s a Mormon & that all Mormon’s approve?
      http://votesmart.org/candidate/biography/25617/paul-ray#.V3RmuZBHarU

      • Jim McDonald

        Yeah, I have no idea what Rep. Ray’s religion is.

        • SMH2much

          I just finished reading an open letter to whoever it may concern, from a Utah resident who is a Mormon. Most of them believe in neutrality, through freedom of choice. When the tax hungry politicians put forth nothing but their side of their beneficial story to keep the tax money flowing in their pockets, its too easy to sway good people into believing the propaganda. Instead of blaming & shaming the good people for believing the lies, I suggest a stronger outreach from non propagandists to reach the community. Hold community outreach meetings, hand out pamphlets, arm the foot soldiers of truth with genuine info. There really are benefits to eCigs & even nicotine. Millions of smokers are escaping from tobacco addiction through freedom of choice, by choosing to switch to safer alternatives. Others stay smokers through freedom of choice. Even smoking has benefits to those who benefit from it. Every individual is different. Stopping the onslaught of propaganda that nobody benefits, the false accusations that everybody *wants* to quit, and the ridiculous biased dictates for money incentives should be everyone’s goals. How can good people accept the flipped side of the coin when they’ve been bombarded by one sided propaganda all their lives? Outreach. Love. Truth.

    • SMH2much

      An open letter from an LDS member:
      To whom it may concern,

      I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, (known to many as Mormons) which is based in Salt Lake City, Utah. I am also a member of the Constitution Party. I have been contacted by individuals concerned about the church and it’s political stands due to the bill just recently passed in the state banning the purchase of vaper products on-line.

      First, I have to say that it is true the church teaches against the habit of smoking, including the use of vapers. However the church also teaches that every individual has his/her free agency. Free agency was given us from God. Having been taught The Word of Wisdom throughout their life some members in government positions will take it upon themselves to try to protect Utahans from ourselves, thus setting regulations which take away that free agency for those who don’t believe as they/we do. The church as a whole however remains neutral. To quote the First Presidency of the Church on Political Participation, Voting, and the Political Neutrality of the Church

      “Dear Brothers and Sisters
      As citizens we have the privilege and duty of electing office holders and influencing public policy. Participation in the political process affects our communities and nation today and in the future. We urge Latter-day Saints to be active citizens by registering and then regularly exercising their right to vote.

      We also urge you to spend the time needed to become informed about the issues and candidates you will be considering as you vote. Along with the options available to you through the Internet, debates, and other sources, the Church occasionally posts information about particular moral issues on which it has taken a position at http://www.MormonNewsroom.org.

      Latter-day Saints as citizens are to seek out and then uphold leaders who will act with integrity and are wise, good, and honest. Principles compatible with the gospel may be found in various political parties and candidates.

      While the Church affirms its institutional neutrality regarding political parties and candidates, members should fully participate in the political process. The Church also affirms its constitutional right of expression on political and social issues.

      Sincerely yours,
      Thomas S. Monson
      Henry B. Eyring
      Dieter F. Uchtdorf
      The First Presidency

      Second, as in the letter from the First Presidency states we are encouraged to search out for ourselves the issues and choose the party to which we want to belong based on their platforms. The parties themselves do not reflect the views of any single church but of the members of the Party, or at least that is the stand of the Constitution Party. Although the party may talk about being Christians,there are many different denominations represented, all of whom believe in Jesus Christ, which is of course, the definition of a Christian.

      My hope and the hope of many others is that people will search out the issues and keep religion of the candidates out of it.

      The goal is to get our country back to obeying the lawsas stated in the Constitution. To preserve the freedoms we have left and to reclaim those that we have lost.

      Thank you for your time.

      Sincerely

      A lover of Liberty.


      “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
      ― Patrick Henry

      • Kurt Brown

        That’s a load of crap. You know it as much as I know it. Or is it mormon be lives cloud your views. Mormons are in control of everything in Utah. You go check who decides who gets vape shop license…The people deciding this are mormon. The idiot that wrote this ban is Mormon. Our Governor is mormon. Or Senators are Mormon, Our Legislative members are mormon. AND IT CAN’T BE CHANGED…Why? Because Utah us a mormon state when 80%of the state’s residents are of Mormon faith there is no changing it

        • SMH2much

          When the foot soldiers of propaganda kneel at their feet night and day 24/7, it’s important to light their path with truths, non stop. They believe in God, not govt. Perhaps they need to be reminded that the foot soldiers they know so well, are doing the work of the govt, not of God.

  • enkay

    Idiot mormon. They have no right to impose their religious beliefs as laws on others. I truly think religion has NO PLACE in government. I mean, mormons actually believe in communism – they just call it “law of consecration” and don’t live by it YET – but they plan to in the future.
    I was raised mormon, and I absolutely hate the fuckers.

    • SMH2much

      I hardly think it’s a Mormon thing. Follow the money. Who awards towns with Grant monies and bonus monies for “healthier communities”? The UN and the big pharma. Who creates studies from govt tax paid dollars for govt studies? The govt. Which branches of govt promote these studies in order to raise taxes? The DHHSm CDC, FDA, etc. Who goes town to town spreading the propaganda? ALA, ACS, etc.. Who pays for their foot soldiers? Big pharma & govt. Who partnered up a decade or two ago? Big pharma & WHO. Who spreads this internationally? WHO. Who does WHO work for? The UN. Who depends on tax dollars off smoking real cigarettes? ALA, Tobacco free kids, GOVT…
      Get off the Mormon’s backs, they’re good people.

      • Kurt Brown

        In Utah it is Mormons. If you look at people in government you’ll find out. 98% are of the Mormon faith, and they feel they have to save everybody. They are supposed to separate church and state. But it’s a impossible thing here. Mormon faith won’t permit it.

  • Toni ShamelessTrouble

    It is truly scary what a politician with an agenda can do. Sneaky legislation that puts numerous constituents at risk needs to be repealed.
    Vaping saves lives and makes for a healthier citizenry. I find it crazy how so many politicians just dont get it. We need to find better ways to educate them

    • Jim McDonald

      I agree. Thanks for the excellent comment!

  • Jamie

    He is the scumbag and feeble minded. How do such uneducated people get such high positions is beyond me. What the hell kind of politician puts his own opinions in front of public health? This Republican is acting very much like a Democrat and with added childishness. POS!!!

    • Jim McDonald

      I don’t think political parties are even an issue. There are lots of politicians from both parties who have seen vaping as an easy target to score points with.

    • Kurt Brown

      Money, It’s all about money. You don’t have to be smart. Just be born into money and your on the inside track

  • Joel Johnson

    Is this law different for wholesale to a licensed vape shop?

    • Jim McDonald

      I believe this just addresses retail sales.

  • Matthew Child

    So if I ordered something yesterday and it was Shipped out today. Will I still be able to get it. As its a box mod. No tank or anything else other than some wire. It was bought an shipped before the ban so how would this work

    • Jim McDonald

      If someone’s willing to ship it, it’s their issue. The state has no way to stop the US Mail, ore prevent deliveries.

      • Matthew Child

        OK so I wanted to by a ohm reader and coil test fire device from USA next week. Would this ban stop that kinda stuff from coming into the state

        • Jim McDonald

          It doesn’t prevent anything. It punished vendors after the fact if they’re caught. If someone chooses to ship to Utah in violation of Utah law, it’s between them and the state.

          • Matthew Child

            Awww. I see. Every vendor has to keep a record of what they sell and show to where it was sent. So anyone caught sending something to an unlicensed vendor would get fined and so on. That’s a joke.
            But what about random things like an ohm reader, wire, cotton, batteries, Things of this nature.one could say wire is for wiring a computer or something, cotton are known as cosmetics. My wife uses my cotton sheets on her face for make up remover. And the batteries can go to anything. I used to race remote control cars and we’d make our own battery packs out of 18650 and smaller, I could honest turn a box mod into a flashlight. Push the button the light comes on, turn the watts up or down would make the light dimmer or higher. It all depends on how one would put it together. Then ontop of that there’s the 3d boxes. You by the plans and upload it into the 3d printer an it prints out your box. All you have to do is order the parts. Not to mention the kits you can by to build your own mods.

            So long as there’s no juice or tanks they shouldn’t be able to fine them. I get the people who make there own juice and stuff. Without that my budy wouldn’t have been able to open up is own shop now. He’s got 2 of them now.

  • Mike Hammer

    Charge him with Homicide. By restricting these adult vapers the ability to get vapor products, and sending them back to combustible Tobacco, He is ensuring a premature death to tens of thousands of people in his state. Tens of thousands of people he will help kill this year. 480,000 people will die this year in the U.S., If they continue smoking. Why wouldn’t we use every tool at our disposal to help? Money? Saved on health care costs. No, this is either morally or financially corrupt on his part.

  • Kurt Brown

    I just don’t understand how they can vote on one thing and then behind doors change the language to make it state something else. Won’t stop me, I travel out of Utah all the time. I just have another reason. I quit smoking 2 years ago because of vaping. I make my own juice (non-nicotine). But I am 52 years old and I won’t have a idiot in a suit telling me what I can and can’t do…

    • Jim McDonald

      I would do the same, but I hope that as a resident, you’ll continue to fight the law by writing and calling your representative.

  • Ignorant and deceptive anti-vaping laws are mostly written by people with conflict of interests because they receive money from big pharma, big tobacco or anti-smoking organizations (who receive funding from the federal government). They have effectively spread lies and deceptions to the point over 30% of the public now believes vaping is just as harmful as smoking when in fact it is 95% safer. Some people say regulations are good because it protects us. Some regulations do protect us. Believe it or not, some regulations are designed to kill us.

  • Paul Muad’Dib

    I have enough 100mg/ml nicotine solution in my freezer to last me more then two years, should blow over by then.

  • Paul Muad’Dib
  • Paul Muad’Dib

    I read on a local website that the Utah vapor industry supports new law. Of course they do, without competition they stand to make a hell of lot of money! I don’t even think it’s legal to give such a tremendous advantage to local businesses.

    • Jim McDonald

      None of the advocates or businesses I know in Utah support it.