In a move unsurprising for those familiar with the policies of the state, Utah’s governor passed a bill called HB245 last week. This legislation includes electronic cigarettes and hookahs in the ban against smoking in public places. News of the bill’s passage is not sitting well with local e-cig customers. There has already been at least one organized protest and many state residents have begun to petition the government to repeal the bill.
Lawmakers in Utah have cited a lack of testing and regulation at the crux of the measure. For residents who have already made the switch to electronic cigarettes, the ban seems arbitrary and heavy handed; particularly in light of the fact that electronic cigarettes are smoke-free. Utah legislators responded by claiming electronic cigarettes look too similar to tobacco cigarettes and may cause confusion.
Many states are in the process of lobbying to have e-cigarettes made illegal for consumption by minors and some counties have taken measures to prohibit the use of e-cigs in bars and restaurants; however, Utah is the first state to pass that kind of legislation at a state level.
Aaron Frazier, Founder of the Utah Vapors Association, says, “By signing HB245 into law, our [state] government is promoting bans without any evidence that it poses any level of hazard to the public.”