Utah’s Battle to Protect Youth from Vaping Epidemic Faces New Threat as Proposed Rule Threatens Progress

Jul 10, 2023, 2:56 PM | Updated: 4:32 pm

Human hand holding a protest banner stop vaping message over a crowded street background....

Photo: Adobe Stock

This article about stopping kids from vaping is sponsored by Prosperous Utah Communities.


Vaping industry’s relentless pursuit of profits sparks concerns over increased nicotine levels

Salt Lake City, Utah – Over the past few years, Utah has been at the forefront of the fight against the vaping epidemic, taking significant strides to protect its youth from the harmful effects of nicotine addiction. However, a recent proposed rule by the Utah Health and Human Services threatens to reverse the progress made in lowering nicotine levels and expose children to higher concentrations once again.

The following timeline of events highlights the determination of Utah to safeguard its youth from the predatory tactics of the vaping industry. In 2019, the emergence of Juul and its highly addictive nicotine vaping pens with 5% and 7.5% nicotine levels sparked legal action as the state witnessed a sharp rise in nicotine addiction rates among its youth.

Undeterred, Utah fought back. In 2020, the state legislature enacted a wave of policies and legislation aimed at curbing the vaping epidemic. These measures included restricting the sale of flavored products to smoke shops only and introducing a substantial e-cigarette tax equivalent to 56% of the manufacturer’s sales price.

The commitment to protecting youth health remained unwavering in 2021 when Utah became a national leader by lowering nicotine levels in vape products from 5% to 3%. This visionary move aimed to curb addiction rates and shield children from the harmful effects of nicotine.

The collective efforts yielded positive results. In 2022, Utah witnessed considerable declines in youth vaping rates, marking a significant milestone in the state’s fight against the harmful trend. However, the vaping industry, driven by its insatiable pursuit of profits, launched a counterstrike. A coalition of vaping businesses filed lawsuits, challenging the implementation of reduced nicotine levels on procedural technicalities.

Now, in 2023, a new threat looms as the Utah Health Department caves under pressure from the Vape Industry, proposing a new rule that would hand control of nicotine levels to the federal regulators. If implemented, this rule would raise nicotine levels back up to 5% and undo the progress made and expose Utah’s youth to higher nicotine concentrations once again.

Stakeholders, including concerned citizens, community organizations, and health advocates, are rallying together to oppose the proposed rule. They emphasize the importance of preserving the lower nicotine levels and the commitment to safeguarding the well-being of Utah’s youth.

The battle to protect Utah’s youth from the clutches of nicotine addiction continues. By remaining vigilant, engaging in meaningful advocacy, and raising our collective voices, we can ensure that the progress made in reducing youth addiction rates remains intact.

Together, Utah can create a healthier, brighter future for its children — one where their well-being and potential are not compromised by the interests of the vaping industry.

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