In their latest effort to make the world a more terrible place the Utah House of Representatives stands poised to pass HB-372, which passed out of the Utah House Health and Human Services Committee on March 6, 2013. This proposed legislation seeks to tax e-cigarettes at 86% of the manufacturer's price and make purchasing e-cigarettes online or through the mail a criminal offense.
Hello Utah! Really? Let me explain. I'm a former smoker who hates cigarettes. I hate the odor. I have asthma and occasionally have a severe reaction to cigarette smoke. I detest cigarette buttes left everywhere. Smokers are not supposed to smoke in prohibited places such as bus and Trax stops. Smokers are not supposed to throw their butts everywhere. They do. They do and anyone who lives in an urban apartment building or takes public transportation knows this. They smoke inside their apartments. They drive and smoke with you in the car. Smoking is a terrible addiction that makes smokers do things they ordinarily wouldn't do.
Smoke kills! Second-hand smoke kills. Vapor doesn't. Second hand vapor doesn't.
I am disabled with internal birth defects and as a result I lived in a public housing project in downtown SLC for six years. I lived directly across the hall from a three-pack-a-day paranoid schizophrenic chain smoker who never went out to smoke and kept his windows closed except for a small crack. I lived across from him for six years! Six years! Every time he opened his door the smell was overwhelming and I would retch if I was nearby. I could smell his smoke inside my apartment as could my guests. I unsuccessfully lobbied the management of this public housing project -- which houses a large number of disabled Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security recipients -- to ban smoking inside the apartments.
I contacted the owner of the building. I called members of the State Legislature. I spoke personally with Ben McAdams (while he was a State Legislator and before he was elected to Salt Lake County Mayor) about banning smoking in apartment complexes that house state Medicaid recipients. I even contacted the LDS Church, which declined to get involved. In short, I reached out obsessively and got nowhere. Six years of constant close exposure to an insane amount of second-hand cigarette smoke and toxicity with no options passed because I was disabled and low income before I received a portable Section 8 Voucher and was able to move away from that horrid situation.
I'm no friend of nicotine. Nicotine is a bronchial constrictor and I have twitchy asthmatic lungs. I have high blood pressure. I'm a huge risk for stroke and heart disease. I quit smoking in 1997.
For the love of God will you "conservative" legislators please stand for what you believe in and show some common sense and compassion with regard to this issue? Please?
We, the non-smoking public who have been involuntarily subjected to poisoning from cigarettes; we the non-smoking victims beg you NOT to tax e-cigarettes or take any legislative action which in any way discourages transitioning smokers from cigarettes to vaporizers. And yes, I'm sure I speak for almost all of us. You are not only killing smokers with this legislation! (We know you hate them and wouldn't mind if they all died off)
You are killing vulnerable second-hand smokers!!! You will increase Medicaid costs due to the continued public toll from primary and secondary smoking. You will become passive legislative murderers. And litterers!
For the vast reasonable majority of the public blessed with a modicum of compassion and common sense please visit this site and send the letter available there to legislators. There is a deadline, March 11th...so act now.