New Teen Coalition Asking for Support on Bill Regulating E-Cigarettes
By Kelly Cannon | email@example.com
Draper - A new coalition of teens is asking various city councils to offer support toward a bill that would change regulations of e-cigarettes. The Students Against Electronic Vaping Coalition presented their proposed bill to the Draper City Council on Tuesday, Jan. 26. Cade Hyde, studentbody president of Davis High School and chair of the coalition, explained the bill came about after Michael Siler, CEO of Practical Strategic Solutions, gave a presentation on e-cigarettes at the high school’s community council. Siler wrote the bill and, while it does not have a house number yet, Rep. Paul Ray will be presenting it during the 2016 legislative session.
“What this bill will do is say that electronic cigarettes are a tobacco product,” Hyde said. “By saying that they are a tobacco product, it would mean that they would have the same restrictions that are on any tobacco product such as restrictions on advertising, online sales, how they are sold in stores, being locked behind the counter, what’s labeled on the ingredients of the e-juice and an added tobacco tax of 86.5 percent.”
According to Hyde, 22,000 Utah students currently use electronic cigarettes. Hyde related a story of how some of his friends began using e-cigarettes as freshmen or sophomores. Hyde said these friends became addicted to the nicotine and now, as seniors, still use e-cigarettes and some have even moved on to harder substances.
“What we see is e-cigarettes are a gateway drug. Getting addicted to nicotine leads to other hard substances,” Hyde said. “That’s what I’m seeing with my friends. That’s what we’re seeing all over the state. And this is a problem.”
Currently, there are few regulations against e-cigarettes in the state of Utah. Hyde said because of the lax regulations, companies are able to tailor their advertising and products toward getting youth addicted.
“They know they must addict our generation to stay in business,” Hyde said. “I don’t like that at all.”
The statewide coalition led by teens in various high schools is presenting a resolution to their respective city councils asking for their support of the bill.
“We’re asking you to sign it and adopt this resolution. By doing so, you’re supporting our bill and our coalition of students against electronic vaping,” Hyde said. “We’re asking for your support, and another way for you to support us is to contact our legislators, especially speaker Greg Hughs. He’s really important to us, that he knows about this bill, and he knows that we’re supporting us, and we need you to contact other legislators as well.”
Councilmember William Rappleye praised the group for its efforts and hard work.
“I will certainly support your efforts. I applaud your efforts,” Rappleye said. “Having young people like yourselves so educated and so involved in this process is so critical because it’s going to affect your future more than mine.”
Rappleye told the coalition to also look into medical marijuana bills being presented in the legislature as well.
“I know they’re out there working on one of them. But I think it’s critical for people to understand what it is,” Rappleye said. “I think there are some provisions that I think can be good, but I think it can be abused as well.”
According to the Utah Department of Health, one in four Utahns between 18 and 34 years old have tried e-cigarettes and 8.5 percent reported current use. In 2015, one in five students in grades eight, 10 and 12 reported to have tried electronic cigarettes. Twenty-nine percent of high school seniors reported to have experimented with e-cigarettes, while 13 percent said they had used them in the past 30 days.