SALT LAKE CITY — On Monday, the emergency rule banning the sale of flavored juices for vaping went into effect.
The State health department made copies of a sign warning “vaping unregulated THC is dangerous” for all vape shop owners to display.
With the ban, one shop owner said the State is overstepping its boundaries.
“We`re talking potential bankruptcy,” said Juan Bravo, president of the Utah Vapor Business Association. “It’s all there is as far as e-juice, e-liquid, it’s all flavored to some variety.”
The emergency rule allows businesses with a “specialty tobacco” permit to continue selling flavored juices. According to the State health department, there are 170 businesses with that permit — meaning people 19 years old and younger can’t be on the property.
The 1,500 other stores in Utah without that permit can have a younger audience on their property — that includes convenience stores, pharmacies, grocery stores and vape shops.
It’s the younger audience, Nicholas Rupp with the Salt Lake County Health Department said, that they’re worried about.
“Vaping flavored nicotine increases the chances that you will be vaping THC,” Rupp said. “We want to make sure that our youth, who are more prone to THC if they’ve used the flavored liquids, that those liquids are harder for them to get.”
Rupp said the Salt Lake County Health Department alone will be visiting 500 shops in the county, checking for the new warning signs and any flavors juices on the shelves.
“If we find problems, we could issue a notice or a violation,” Rupp said.
But a violation isn’t enough to Bravo.
Instead of regulating vaping, Bravo said the State is harming the industry.
“You take these retailers out of the marketplace, people are going to — best case scenario — make their own e-liquid,” Bravo said. “Or worst case scenario, go back to smoking.”
The Utah Department of Health reports 98 cases of vaping-related lung injuries with another 15 under investigation.