Governor Gary Herbert has a big smile on his face this week after signing legislation that makes life difficult for the e-cigarette industry in Utah.
The new unwanted regulations will mean that sellers of e-cigarettes will now need to be licensed by the state. It also imposes labelling and quality-control requirements on e-liquids and requires child-proof caps on bottles of e-juice. Herbert and politicians in Utah are total hypocrites. They won't hesitate to stress that e-cigarettes haven't been regulated by the FDA (still no emails from them about the product) and say that's one reason they have to take action. However, this week the governor also signed a bill that allows terminally ill patients to try treatments that have not been approved by the FDA. Where's the logic in that?
"Electronic cigarettes contain nicotine and other harmful, addictive substances," Herbert said in a statement. "As marketing and sales of e-cigarettes increase, taxation and regulations similar to those imposed on traditional tobacco products should be enforced to protect public health." Notice how he said that lovely word 'taxation.' Herbert knows a profitable source of revenue when he sees one so it's so surprising he wants to make life difficult for the industry. He must see that tobacco sales are falling and e-cigarette sales rising which means he needs to tap into this revenue source.
But why are e-cigarettes having to suffer the same strict treatment as the deadly tobacco cigarettes. There's no tobacco in e-cigarettes, it's a different and safer product. The Governor received a letter from Greg Conley, president of the American Vaping Asociation, urging him to veto the bill but the governor ignored his views. That's despite the fact that Conley pointed out how the new regulation exempt sealed e-cigarettes which are almost entirely manufactured by the nation's major tobacco companies. This put other e-cigarette maker at a competitive disadvantage.
Sponsor of the bill, Paul Ray says young children can't consume the liquid in sealed e-cigarettes. He added that the devices aren't marketed to children the way the liquids for refillable e-cigarettes can be. I guess he's going down the flavors route again believing that is aimed at children when in fact they help ex-smokers who have turned to e-cigarettes.
Again though most of this legislation is unecessary and even the local e-cigarette association said they agreed with about 80% of what's in the bill. This is just another example of politicians trying to cause problems when most of the issues are already being dealt with by the industry already.