To: Rep. McKell, M.,
Subject: Regarding HB112 (revised)
Dear Members of the Utah Legislature,
My name is Jeramy Udy. I had my first cigarette at 15 years of age. Being too young to legally buy cigarettes didn't stop me or my friends from smoking. At first, it was one smoke, whenever a friend stole a few from his parents. Then it turned into getting whole packs that I would hide from my parents in my closet. When I was 18, it turned into getting orders from my younger friends and driving to Malad, Idaho and buying cartons to sell. I was a pack a day smoker before I was legally able to buy cigarettes in my state. I knew it was a filthy habit, and I still tried to hide it from my parents even after I has turned 19 and still even after I turned 21. It was an expensive habit that I carried for more than half of my life. I tried quitting more than a dozen times. I tried the patch. I tried the gum. I tried the pill. I tried cold turkey. I tried, and I tried, and I tried. Then one day I went to a party, and a friend of mine had this brass tube that he was using to inhale something and exhale vapor. I honestly thought he was doing some sort of new drug, because he was passing it around to everyone. When I got my hands on it, I asked him what it was, and he told me that it was an electronic cigarette and it was helping him to quit smoking. I was skeptical, but I took a hit off of it and didn't feel anything special happening. By this time in my life, I was smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, if not more. I started hanging out with my friend a lot more, and I eventually had him get me an electronic cigarette. We had to order it online, because I live in a rural part of the state, just south of the Idaho border. I tried it, and like all the times I tried to quit smoking this too had failed. After several years of smoking, I decided to give it one more try. By this time, my friend had opened up an E-cig store somewhat locally, and I didn't have to drive 80 miles to the city. I could just drive 15. He set me up with another electronic cigarette, one much better than the one I got the first time. Since that day, 253 days ago to be exact, I haven't had a single cigarette. I have added time to my life that I get to spend with my family and friends. I can do things without having to take smoke breaks.
Ever since I got involved with the vaping community, I have researched and read, and I have gotten involved. I urge you to visit Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos website http://www.ecigarette-research.com/web/index.php and learn the truth about vaping. There is no combustible tobacco in these products and should not be categorized as such. If you choose to ignore the facts then you are poor, poor lawmakers. I do agree that the e-juice or e-liquid does need to be regulated so that I know that what I am buying isn't made in someone's bathroom. They should be clearly labeled with ingredients, nicotine level, and a warning for children. But the state cannot tell people what grade ingredients they use. Just like they cannot tell a baking shop what grade sugar, or flour to use. I do agree that children should not be allowed to use these devices. But I also believe that when someone turns 18 years old they should have the choice to do as they please. Raising the age limit to 21 is uncalled for. Fifteen and sixteen year olds will still find a way to get cigarettes and vaporizers. Anyone over the age of 18 will just drive across the border and pick up a carton of cigarettes while getting a lottery ticket. I knew all the dangers before I started smoking, yet chose to ignore them. As will everyone else that is curious, no matter the age. This bill will not change that, no matter how many times it is revised.
I live in a community that is 30 miles away from the closest Walmart, and was, until a year ago, 80 miles from the closest vape shop. Now I can get my vaping supplies locally, but the zoning laws may put an end to that. My only resort, if the shop closes, is to order supplies online. This bill would change that, forcing me to do something illegally that everyone else in the country is allowed to do freely.
Another concern I have is the funding issue. According to the fiscal note attached, if this bill passes, it "reduces ongoing tax revenue to the General Fund by about $2.7 million beginning in FY 2015 due to decreased tobacco and related product sales." That is a big chunk of money. How is the state going to pay for the enforcement of this law? I also don't understand the statement, "Through provisions of this bill, approximately 4,700 individuals forgo purchasing tobacco and related products saving about $600/person/year for a total of $2.8 million in savings in local and state taxes." Is this claiming that 4,700 people are going to quit purchasing tobacco because of this bill? Have you ever tried to quit smoking? It isn't something that is done because a piece of paper signed into law tells people to. It has to be a personal choice, a decision made with oneself to live a better life.
This witch hunt against an alternative to smoking is derived from lunatics that want to take my freedoms away. If you don't agree with smoking, then don't smoke. If you don't agree with vaping, then don't vape. Please don't try to pass a misinformed bill that will kill thousands of people by keeping them in the grasp that deadly tobacco has on them.
p.o. box 13
Riverside, UT 84334