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June 27, 2016

Utah Bans Online Vaping Purchases

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.

Smokers created vaping without any help from the tobacco industry or anti-smoking crusaders, and vapers have the right to keep innovating to help themselves. My goal is to provide clear, honest information about the challenges vaping faces from lawmakers, regulators, and brokers of disinformation. I recently joined the CASAA board, but my opinions aren’t necessarily CASAA’s, and vice versa. You can find me on Twitter @whycherrywhy

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DALE MCCOLLOUGH
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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… Read more »

SMH2much
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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… Read more »

Kurt Brown
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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
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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.

SMH2much
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SMH2much

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

enkay
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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
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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… Read more »

Kurt Brown
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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
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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

Jamie
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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!!!

Kurt Brown
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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
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Joel Johnson

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

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