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From: Kim Bennion
To: Rep. Perry, L.,
Subject: HB112
Date: 2014-02-21T15:56:46Z

I am a  Registered Respiratory Therapist, the President-Elect of the Utah Society for Respiratory Care and a concerned parent. I work first hand with thousands of individuals whose health problems can be attributed directly to tobacco use.   I urge you to vote in favor of HB 112 which would assist with the regulation of the manufacture, marketing and distribution of electronic cigarettes.  The government said for years that regular tobacco use was “safe”.  In the January 2014 report from the US Surgeon General, his fifty year review of the impact on tobacco use on American’s health was staggering. Research cannot assure of that e-cigarette use is safe!

Based on UDOH and CDC data:

1.     Kids’s use of e-cigarettes in Utah has tripled from 2011 to 2013 (while rest of the country has only doubled)

2.     Despite having no legal access to e-cigarettes, Utah youth are three times more likely to report current use than adults.

3.     Nearly one-third of Utah youth who use e-cigarettes report that they never tried conventional cigarettes. 

4.     E-cigarettes are the preferred tobacco products for Utah kids.  In some areas, as many as 20% of children use e-cigarettes regularly.

5.     All the major cigarette companies are now in the e-cigarette business.


From my professional perspective, the earlier individuals start smoking, the earlier they are hooked on nicotine and who knows whatever other products are in e-cig “juice”.  The earlier they are hooked, the longer they smoke.  The longer they smoke, the more likely they are to be diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) which is the 3RD leading cause of death in America.  Did you know that 85-90% of COPD is caused by tobacco use?  COPD is preventable! 


Tobacco damage to individuals is not as quickly apparent as drinking. Individuals do not have slurred speech, impaired driving not do they stumble.  However, the impact of tobacco use on individuals is slow and insidious.  E-cigarettes ARE versions of tobacco use.  I’ve heard the arguments:


1)      It’s a far reach of government to pass a law such as this.

2)      We can’t keep citizens from harming themselves even if e-cigarettes are being touted as “safe”.

3)      The smoker only hurts himself.

4)      Utah may lose tax revenue (e-sales, etc…)


If #1 and #2 are true, then why do we have laws regarding:  seat belt use, car seats for children, speed limits, texting while driving and even food inspections?  The answer is that these laws DO protect individuals and build on the greater good of the population.


Smokers do NOT only hurt themselves.  The impact of second and third hand smoke are just beginning to come to light.  We are not fully aware of the impact of e-cigarette “vapors” might have on other individuals. I have willingly paid into Medicare and Medicaid for my whole career.  I will not enjoy the same coverage the generation before me has enjoyed.  US healthcare has been practicing reactionary, patient focused care in that we wait for individuals to become sick and THEN treat them.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!  SB 12 will help us focus on health promotion and disease prevention for a more population-based care model. This will lives and billions of healthcare dollars.


I read that Utah spent approximately $104 million Medicaid dollars alone for tobacco related illnesses.  This makes the smaller tax revenue loss pale in comparison.


Tobacco companies know the facts and are marketing specifically to our youth and are telling adults e-cigs are “safe”!  There is no evidence that the use of e-cigs help an individual with tobacco cessation.


Please vote in favor of protecting Utah’s children by voting “yes” to HB112.




Kim Bennion MHS, BSRT,  RRT, CHC

Corporate Respiratory Care Services QA Manager

Intermountain Healthcare

USRC President Elect

36 S. State Street

SLC, Utah  84111

(801) 442-3331 Office

(801) 347-1269 Cell



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