To: JP Massaro,
Subject: Re: With regards to SB0012
Date: 1/28/2014 1:36:45 PM
I appreciate you contacting me and sharing your views, JP.
On Jan 28, 2014, at 1:34 PM, "JP Massaro" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Dear members of the Utah Legislature,
My name is JP Massaro. I am a 24 year old Army Reservist and Iraq veteran residing in Murray, Utah. Since I was 19 years old, I was a user of tobacco products - hookah, cigarettes, pipe and most commonly, chewing tobacco. On October 18th, 2013, I was introduced to, and bought my very first electronic cigarette. Since my first puff of vapor, I have not gone back to any one of those traditional tobacco products once.
Today marks my 100th day being free of tobacco because of electronic cigarettes. I understand that there is legislation on this year's agenda regarding SB0012, specifically 76-10-105 and 76-10-105-1, which would include the ban of online sales of e-cigarette products, as well as changing the legal age of use of tobacco and e-cigarette products to 21. Today I am here to voice my opinion, as a voting citizen of the great state of Utah and as a someone who defends of the Constitution of the United States of America. Electronic cigarettes helped me get off traditional tobacco products, and I have helped several of my friends, both civilian and military, to stop using them as well.
Electronic cigarettes contain no tobacco and do not require any combustible ignition source to function. The liquids that go in them are made using the following ingredients:
-artificial flavorings, which are found in just about every food product on the market today.
-propylene glycol, which is not only an antibacterial, but has been used in asthma inhalers for over 50 years.
-Vegetable glycerin, which is used as a sweetener in products such as soda and cereal.
-Various measured and diluted nicotine strengths far below what is considered anywhere near harmful.
Electronic cigarettes are NOT an invention of Big Tobacco - they were developed by a Chinese pharmacist in 2003 who wanted a safer alternative to cigarettes after his father died of lung cancer. For the record, it is extremely unfair, even offensive to some degree, to have them categorized and regulated in the same manner
First, I would like to address Utah's zoning laws - they are extremely restrictive with regards to setting up electronic cigarette shops, as was demonstrated at the beginning of this year. In 2013, the City of Bountiful issued licenses to four electronic cigarette businesses that were at the time, and still are, in violation of zoning code. They are being allowed to continue operations without a license throughout 2014 due to the blatant oversight by the city from the get-go. In 2013, those businesses became successful, stimulated the economy, and helped hundreds, if not thousands of people of legal age stop using traditional tobacco products.
Because the zoning laws for these shops are so heavily regulated, it makes obtaining a business license next to impossible, leaving many small companies to stick to online sales. By removing the option for online sales, Utah's economy will suffer greatly and it will in turn make tobacco usage reduction harder than ever. Sales of electronic cigarettes last year was in the billions of dollars. E-cigarette shops in Utah carry products and attract customers from around the world. By voting to ban online sales of these products, you would be putting a significant dent in Utah's economic growth, not just now, but for years to come.
I understand that a major point of concern is regulation among youth because of the appeal. Electronic cigarettes are no more marketed to children than PopTarts or birthday cake flavored vodka or cherry-flavored Nicorette gum, and I am sure each and every one of you have your favorite candy bar or dessert or drink that you enjoy from time to time. Every shop that I and my fellow vapers (e-cigarette users) have visited between Provo and Ogden has asked me for photo identification to verify that I am of legal age to purchase the desired e-cig products. I do support youth access control efforts 100%, so long as they are implemented in a manner in which legal adults are not going to suffer.
Additionally, I very much do not agree with moving the age up to 21 to purchase these products. At age 16 in Utah, you can get married and obtain a driver's license. At age 18, you can vote for elected officials and join the Armed Forces. Are electronic cigarette products as dangerous as alcohol or traditional tobacco? Absolutely not. I urge you to do your own research instead of listening to the same stories re-circulated by the media saying that these products are harmful. One of the leading experts on the effects of electronic cigarettes, Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, has created the website below, where you can read dozens of studies conducted on electronic cigarettes and their various effects on the human body.
To increase the legal age for use of electronic cigarette products and to ban the sale of these products online, you would be stripping voting adult citizens of their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. You would be hurting Utah's economy, the right to make decisions and, in essence, you would be infringing on the God-given right to freedom itself. I ask you to please vote AGAINST these proposed pieces of legislation and help keep America full of two of its most integral founding principles: liberty and freedom. If you would like to discuss this matter further, please feel free to contact me at any time. I'm more than happy to sit down and discuss this with you either over the phone, via email or face to face.