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Bills aimed at curbing youth vaping in Utah propose new sales requirements, new tax

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Bills announced at State Capitol to prevent underage vaping (Photo: KUTV)

20-year-old Katie Bertram stood before news cameras, politicians — including Governor Gary Herbert — medical doctors, and educators on Wednesday, and described herself as a “former vaping addict.”

It happened as anti-vaping advocates crowded into the Utah Capitol Gold Room, and announced a series of bills aimed at shielding kids from vape products.

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"A vaping day for me, personally, would be wake up in the morning and hit my vape,” said Bertram. “On my way to school, I would hit my vape the entire way there, you know when I get home from school, hit it when I’m doing homework, in my breaks at work. It was just a constant stream of vaping.”

Bertram said her initial flavor of choice was mango, followed by mint, and while flavors drew her at first to vaping, nicotine and “withdrawal symptoms” kept her there.

Eventually, with the help of family and willpower, she said she was able to stop.

The bills aimed at curbing minors from vaping would slap new requirements on sales of nicotine products, and “establish a new tax to be used for hiring officers.”

Juan Bravo, head of the Utah Vapor Business Association, said the bills are all “overly restrictive.”

He is especially concerned about the definition of “specialty licenses” for tobacco sales, and casts a large proposed tax hike on e-cigarettes in one measure as “asinine.”

Bravo said the vape industry is interested in working on youth prevention of vaping, but does not want stores now operating to be put out of business.