Utah lawmakers say they will fight for the health of Utah teens

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In this April 11, 2018, file photo, a high school student uses a vaping device near a school campus in Cambridge, Mass.

Steven Senne, Associated Press

2 legislators propose flavor ban; another wants e-cigs gone

SALT LAKE CITY — Two Utah lawmakers intend to make the latest ruling from the state health department a permanent solution to curb teen access to electronic cigarettes.

“We’ve recently learned, in general, that vaping is not safe, and if it is not safe for adults, it’s definitely not safe for children, so we ought to do something to make it less available to them,” Rep. Norm Thurston, R-Provo, said Thursday.

He and Rep. Jen Dailey-Provost, D-Salt Lake City, plan to revive a bill they tried to pass earlier this year that is very similar to Wednesday’s emergency ruling issued by the Utah Department of Health, which limits the sale of all flavored cartridges to specialty smoke shops.

“We have to protect our kids,” said Dailey-Provost, the proposed bill’s chief sponsor. She is encouraged because the bill has had support from both Utah Republicans and Democrats.

Dailey-Provost is not proposing an all-out ban on e-cigarettes, as she believes adults can make their own decisions, even if the devices aren’t proven to be successful for smoking cessation.

However, business owners have a different opinion, and some say even the rule could harm their bottom line.

“Adults like candy as well, and a lot of these flavors is what got them off of cigarettes, which we know kills over 400,000 people a year in the United States alone,” said Kevin Henrie, owner of Rebel Goat Vapors, in Salt Lake City. He estimates a mere 2% of his customers prefer unflavored tobacco products for vaping and roughly 65% of his business is selling e-juices.

“It would essentially turn our customers elsewhere,” Henrie said, adding that he’d be “out of this business.”

Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, proposed weeks ago that he would like to ban the sale of flavors completely. Now he’s wanting to get rid of e-cigarettes altogether, despite what it might do to the business.

“The safest, best thing to do for public policy is to ban vaping altogether,” he said. “There’s nothing safe about it.”

A recent report published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that many of the cases of hospitalized people who vape have chemical burns on their lungs, which Ray said is evidence that e-cigarettes are more harmful than even he previously thought. “It’s the flavors that addict kids,” he said, but, “it’s a lot more than kids we’re worried about. This is a public health issue.”

In addition to increased use among teens, Grand County School District officials reported on Thursday that devices confiscated from their students have tested positive for methamphetamine.

“We would like students, parents and community members to be aware of the risks of vaping and that devices and/or vape juice can contain any number of substances,” Dr. Stephen Hren, principal at Grand County High School, said in a statement. He said vape users have no way of knowing what substances they’re inhaling, what their reaction could be, or the dangerous and addictive effects.

“Vaping is …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News

      

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