To: David Lifferth, Jack Draxler, Curt Webb, Jacob Anderegg, Ryan Wilcox, Gage Froerer, Jeremy Peterson, Dixon Pitcher, Richard Greenwood, Curtis Oda, Steve Handy, Roger Barrus, Jim Nielson, Doug Sagers, Susan Duckworth, Joel Briscoe, Angela Romero, Brian King, Lee Perry, Janice Fisher, Larry Wiley, Craig Hall, Johnny Anderson, Mark A. Wheatley, Patrice Arent, Carol Moss, Eric Hutchings, Jim Dunnigan, Lynn Hemingway, Daniel McCay, Jim Bird, Earl Tanner, Steve Eliason, Marie Poulson, Ken Ivory, Keven John Stratton, Robert Spendlove, Richard Cunningham, John Knotwell, Kraig Powell, John G. Mathis, Kay Christofferson, Jon Cox, Val Peterson, Dana Layton, Keith Grover, Jon Stanard, Francis Gibson, Michael Mckell, Marc Roberts, Merrill Nelson, Jerry Anderson, Kay Mciff, Brad Last, John Westwood, mnoel, Lowry Snow, Paul Ray, LaVar Christensen, Stewart Barlow, Rebecca Houck, Tim Cosgrove, Brian Greene, Mike Kennedy, Ronda Menlove, Edward Redd, Rebecca Lockhart, Brad Dee, Greg Hughes, Don Ipson, Melvin Brown, Brad Wilson, Dean Sanpei, Jennifer M. Seelig, Tim Cosgrove, rchouch, Joel Briscoe,
Subject: HB112-Preventing Youth Access to E-cigarettes
Date: Mon Feb 24 01:26:40 MST 2014
I am writing to ask that you vote in favor of HB112-Regulation of Electronic Cigarettes. This bill is about preventing youth access to an addictive tobacco product. I have worked in tobacco prevention and control for the last seven years in the Weber-Morgan Health District. Tobacco prevention among youth is critical and during the last 15 years public health has made tremendous strides in reducing youth tobacco use rates. With the introduction of e-cigarettes, it seems the strides public health has made are now being undermined.
During the last three years, we have witnessed skyrocketing rates of regular e-cigarette use among youth in the Weber-Morgan Health District. It is unlike anything I have ever seen. Preventing youth access to these addictive drugs and asserting authority over the contents of the product is desperately needed. In the Weber-Morgan health district, regular e-cigarette use among youth was 3.6% in 2011, those rates exploded to 19.9% in 2013. Experimentation among our youth is also high at 30%, nearly 1 out of 3 of our youth are experimenting with these products. This is representative data from the Prevention Needs Assessment that is administered throughout the state every two years. As a point of comparison, the youth use rate of cigarette smoking in our local health district was 7.1% in 2011, and declined to 5.9% in 2013. These rates for traditional tobacco products are a far cry from the epidemic rates with e-cigarettes. We are seeing a very high rate of youth initiation, as well as dual tobacco use with e-cigarettes.
Much of this experimentation has to do with false claims made in advertisements for the product, as well as the easy access. All the major cigarette companies are now in the e-cigarette business, and it seems they are using the same playbook for advertisements as in the past. Youth who would never try a traditional cigarette are lured in by manufacturer claims that “it is just water vapor” or “nicotine is as harmless as caffeine”. These youth may not fully understand the negative impact that nicotine has on a developing brain or that youth are sensitive to nicotine and can feel dependent earlier than adults. Because of nicotine addiction, three out of four youth smokers end up smoking into adulthood, even if they intend to quit after a few years.
Additionally, youth access to the products is a major contributor to the current use rates. We have heard many stories from youth in our community about how easy it is to walk into any vapor shop or convenience store to purchase them. Youth are also buying them on the internet. Many e-cigarette manufacturers give away free samples to youth who buy online. Last July through October, our agency collected convenience sample surveys at many events in our community to assess youth use, perceptions of e-cigarettes, ease of access and where they were buying the products. The results were shocking. Nearly 60% of the youth surveyed indicated that it was “very easy” to get e-cigarettes, and of those that had tried e-cigarettes, 27% indicated a person older than 19 gave them to them, 22% bought them at a vapor or e-cigarette specialty shop, nearly 10% bought them at a convenience store and nearly 10% bought them online. Our agency does not currently have any enforcement authority over the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. This is a regulatory gap. We have implemented several communication plans to inform and educate stakeholders in our local health district. Education is an important component in reducing youth use rates, but we know from history that it is not enough to ensure retailer compliance. Because of the ability for local health departments to conduct compliance checks on other tobacco products, such as traditional cigarettes and chew; since 2001, illegal sales of tobacco to underage youth have declined 62% to a statewide rate of 6.1%. Conducting compliance checks to ensure retailers are not selling e-cigarettes to our youth is a necessary check and balance to prevent youth access.
Lastly, the contents of these products are not regulated by any agency. Manufacturers that compound the solution are not required to have any training or licensure to do so. Nicotine content listed on the label has been found in several peer-reviewed studies to be ambiguous, and many times incorrect. The Davis county health department collected samples of the “e-juice” last year and found that amounts of nicotine in the e-juice were as much as three times higher than the labeled amount. This included products labeled as 0mg of nicotine. Due to no requirement for licensure statewide, we have no idea how many e-cigarette retail outlets are in our area. This is an issue of great concern to many stakeholders in our area, including all Mayors in Weber County and the Ogden City Council.
I sincerely hope that you will take the information I have provided and vote in favor of this bill. Additionally, the Ogden City Council and Weber Area Council of Government have both issued resolutions urging the state legislature to ensure licensing, enforcement and penalty requirements are required statewide for e-cigarettes. I have attached both resolutions. I would be happy to provide you with any additional information you would like, including the results from the convenience sample related to youth access. I have also attached a copy of the most comprehensive scientific literature review to date (Stan Glantz, report attachment)
Thank you for your service in our legislature and for your commitment to protecting youth in our state.
5831 South 2600 West, Roy, UT 84067
FINAL WACOG E-CIG RESOLUTION.pdf
Ogden CIty Joint Resolution on E-cigarettes.pdf
Stan Glantz ecig_Report_Dec2013.pdf