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Letter: A skeleton of HB112

Published: Saturday, March 8 2014 12:00 a.m. MST

I am a registered respiratory therapist and the president-elect of the Utah Society for Respiratory Care (USRC), and a citizen concerned about e-cigarette legislation.

There is no current regulation of e-cigarette manufacture, advertising or distribution. Sadly, my son was "sucked in" to the story that it is “safe” and “not that addictive.” In fact, he reported assisting with the manufacture of the “juice” which comprises the “vapor” — in a private kitchen with essential oils.

If we don’t regulate how and who can manufacture and distribute the “juice,” then how in the world will we ever know the true impact of which substances might enter the lungs via e-cig use? I’m happy to report that my son no longer uses, manufactures or distributes e-cigarettes.

For more than 30 years, the government told us smoking was “safe.” Health care workers even smoked!

We have known for years the impact of active and passive smoke exposure on cancer, heart and lung diseases. The most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report added several negative health outcomes linked to active and passive smoke exposure: reproductive, dental and immune function/autoimmune disorders, as well as macular degeneration, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and inflammatory bowel disease.

Utah use of e-cigarettes has increased 300 percent. Can we afford to allow tobacco companies to tell us that these substances are safe? Should government and health care turn yet another blind eye, believing these companies? They denied smoking's health impacts until forced to admit them when overwhelming scientific evidence proved that tobacco use was severely detrimental to the health of America’s citizens.

We should not water down HB112 until it is a skeleton of what it was meant to be: protection for the health of Utah’s citizens.

Kim Bennion

Salt Lake City

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