SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — It was one of the hottest issues in Utah—then COVID hit.
Now the vaping debate is back, over a new proposed state health department rule that would cut nicotine in a “manufacturer sealed electronic cigarette product” from 5% to 3%.
Attorney Walter Plumb, head of Drug Safe Utah, said he supports the lower nicotine level to protect minors.
I’m more concerned with our 650,000 kids, K-12 in Utah,” Plumb said. “Youth addiction has really taken off.”
It’s already illegal to selling vape cartridges to minors, but Plumb maintained they’re getting them anyway, and a lower nicotine level will mean fewer get hooked.
We are not advocating for anybody using these products if they are not of legal age,” said Juan Bravo, a vape store owner, and head of the Utah Vapor Business Association.
Bravo is against the change, asserting it won’t reduce addiction in kids, calling 5% nicotine the “industry standard,” and likening the vape debate to the old give-and-take over 3.2 beer.
“What’s wrong with having a less addictive product on the market?“ 2News asked Bravo.
“It’s not that it’s less addictive, per se,” he replied. “I don’t think this is going to make people vape less, or use less product. If anything, those who need or want more nicotine will either purchase more product, or simply go to combustible cigarettes.“
Plumb cast vaping as no healthy alternative to smoking, saying the latter “burns off” a lot of nicotine, but vaping takes it “directly into your lungs.”
The new executive director of the Utah Department of Health will make the final decision on the 3% proposed rule, which if approved, could take effect in mid-to-late September.