New Utah vaping regulation receives mixed reactions

Posted at 8:39 PM, Oct 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-02 22:39:56-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Mixed reactions over new vaping regulations in Utah.

The Utah Department of Health issued an emergency ruling Wednesday that requires warning notices about vaping THC cartridges at tobacco shops in Utah and restricting which stores can sell flavored e-cigarette products.

Members of the Utah Vaper Business Association met Wednesday to discuss the new ruling, among other things.

“We are extremely relieved that the health department is now making it a public health issue that it is not vaper and nicotine products that are making people sick but its black market THC cartridges," the president of the association said.

Juan Bravo owns VIP Vapors in Orem and has been the president of the association for more than a year.

The unknown about what has caused the vaping related illnesses has hurt his business, Bravo said. But it is not a business standpoint he is coming from today he said, it is a public health standpoint.

"Talking to a lot of former regulars they all went back to combustible cigarettes and that doesn’t sit well with me," he said.

Utah has seen more than 70 cases of vaping related illnesses so far.

While Bravo is happy to spread public education, he is not happy about the restriction on who can sell flavored e-cigarette products. The ruling states flavored juices in vaping and e-cigarette supplies can only be sold in licensed specialty tobacco stores.

“The reason that we did this is because we have seen a correlation between people who smoke flavored nicotine products or who vape flavored nicotine products and people who also move on to smoke THC products," Ryan Bartlett, media coordinator for the tobacco prevention and control program, said.

Bravo disagrees. He said he does not believe there is any correlation between flavored vapor products and THC.

“That would be like saying kids are dying from cocaine so let's ban alcohol," Bravo said.

The Dept. of Public Health hopes this move will help with prevention.

“We are hoping it will prevent youth from getting started on it and moving on to unregulated THC products in the future," Barlett said.

Bravo said the Utah Vaper Business Association is in contact with the department of health to discuss their concerns.

The ruling goes into effect Oct. 7 across the state.