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Utah Lawmaker Calls For Total Ban On All Vaping Products

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A Utah lawmaker who called for a ban on flavored oils for vaping cartridges is now calling for an all-out ban on all vaping products in the state of Utah.

“We have a product that is actually killing people right here right now and we haven’t acted on it,” Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clinton, said Thursday.

It was a different tune from the press conference he and Rep. Eric Hutchings held just three weeks ago inside the capitol where they wanted all flavored e-cigarette juices banned.

“I was working on a bill that would ban flavors. I think I’m going to switch that over and we are just going to make it an all-out ban come January,” Ray said. “The best thing we can do for public policy is just to ban vaping all together…there is nothing safe about it.”

Ray said he is aware a complete ban on vaping products would cause an uproar with vapers and vaping shops, causing the shops to go out of business — and he said he’s okay with that.

“I’ve got to look at public safety,” Ray said. “Is it a business plan over public health? To me, it’s ‘no’, public health comes first.”

Ray said his change of heart came on Thursday after reading a report from the American Medical Association that vaping is chemically burning the lungs. He said that was the final straw.

“It’s vaping, in general, that is bad for the lungs,” Ray said. “I’ve been saying this for a long time.”

One of the latest disturbing cases in Utah came out of Grand County High School in Moab. School leaders said they confiscated two vaping cartridges that tested positive for methamphetamine. The first he’s seen in his 30-plus years at the school.

“One of them was a JUUL pod and our school officer knew that it had been tampered with because you could see substances in it that are normally not there,” said Dr. Stephen Hre, Grand County High School principal. “People will get a hold of the vape materials and then they will alter the content so the students don’t even know what they are getting.”

As a result, Hren held a school assembly Thursday morning and is planning to meet with police and the community.

“The goal is to have an open honest dialog with our community, hopefully, and shine some light on this. Be vigilant to try to do what we can to help out,” he said.

UPDATE: On Oct. 14, Grand County School District officials said the vaping devices were retested. The results confirmed THC was present but returned negative for methamphetamine.

Officials said the situation helped open dialogues with students and parents in the district; they said some students have since voluntarily turned in vaping devices.

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