Utah’s Governor Gary R. Herbert just signed a whopping 42 bills into law this past Tuesday. Among them was a deeply concerning bill that appears to give the state’s Department of Health carte blanche to regulate electronic cigarettes and vapor products in whatever way they choose. One wonders how much thought the Governor gave any of the bills he signed when throwing his signature on the slew of bills.
The one concerning electronic cigarettes and vapor products is HB 415. It grants Utah’s Department of Health authority to determine limits and standards for product quality, nicotine content, packaging and labeling of all electronic cigarette products within the state.
While standards are an essential part of any mature industry, there is a balance to be struck. Extremely tough standards and reporting often prove too expensive for new companies to endure. This can slow job growth and innovation, but can also hand new profitable opportunities to large established companies with no incentive to improve or promote newer options over more existing ones. That’s what could happen to the vaping industry. Harsh and expensive compliance regulation may simply had smokers back into the arms of tobacco companies.
Even without the sway of tobacco and pharmaceutical companies — both of which benefit from a hampered vaping industry — many public health officials and government employees seem to regularly default to fighting electronic cigarette and vapor products because that’s what they’re used to doing with smoking. In many individuals’ minds, the two are one and the same.
We’ll see how this turns out. Read the full HB 415 bill right here.