SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – A state lawmaker wants to make the flavor restrictions from the health department’s emergency rule permanent.
The bill fell short during this year’s legislative session, but it’s coming back with new momentum.
“We all see that this is impacting so many lives, and if we don’t start to get in front of it now we will have lost an entire new generation to nicotine addiction,” said Representative Jennifer Dailey-Provost, (D) Salt Lake City.
She is bringing back the bill to codify part of the emergency rule from the Utah Department of Health.
It would permanently restrict flavored e-cigarette sales to specialty licensed, or adult-only retailers.
She says it’s necessary because there is no doubt it’s the flavors that attract kids.
“I have long viewed that it’s okay to make access to dangerous products a little bit inconvenient for adults in order to protect children,” said Dailey-Provost.
The bill has bipartisan support. Representative Norm Thurston is once again coming on as a co-sponsor.
“If you look at the list of co-sponsors it was across the aisle. It’s people who understand that this is a rampant problem that’s causing children to become addicted to nicotine,” said Thurston, (R) Orem.
Non-specialty shops say this could put them out of business.
They say they are capable of being responsible on their own.
“We’re boots on the ground. We know what works, we know what doesn’t. We know how to keep this out of the hands of kids,” said Juan Bravo with the Utah Vapors Business Association.
Dailey-Provost says she’s been at this a long time, and that’s not what she’s seeing.
“They’ve assured me that they don’t sell to kids, but kids are using them. We know that they are selling to kids. And, they’ve insisted they can self-regulate and they’re not,” she said.
The emergency rule from the health department will be implemented for 120 days.
Dailey-Provost says it will serve as a good pilot program while she works to get her bill passed.
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