Overzealous advocate for nonsense, Clinton, Utah, Representative Paul Ray, attempted to pass a bill that would have killed the vaping industry in Utah with an 86.5 percent tax. Ray sponsored the bill, maintaining his illogical argument that vaping is bad and a “scumbag industry.” The moral crusader wasted hours of House time on his thoughtless diatribes.
Vaping has allowed thousands of Utahns to kick the much more lethal habit of smoking. Vaping is beginning to gain the attention of big tobacco and big pharma, who both would like to see it taxed like a tobacco product or be legislated out of popular use. Ray’s contention is that because the “juice” used to make the vapor contains nicotine, it should be taxed as a tobacco product. This sounds exactly as if Ray is working for big tobacco.
One of Ray’s most illogical claims is that tobacco companies “have basically killed off their clientele, so they know if they can’t addict a new generation to tobacco, they will go out of business in the next 20 years; E-cigarettes are how they are going to addict that next generation.”
Big tobacco has nothing to do with the burgeoning vaping industry. Big tobacco is trying to make inroads with their E-cigarettes, but they are failing. To claim that E-cigarettes are big tobacco’s ace-in-the-hole is ludicrous. Big tobacco will not go out of business because their international markets generate astounding revenue. And the amount they sell from E-cigarettes is a tiny amount of their overall profits. Ray obviously didn’t research what he was arguing.
Ray seemed to have support from supposedly “300 high-school students,” according to reports from the Salt Lake Tribune, but many of the students that gathered for the hearing were against it.
Representative Ray Shilo Platts is with the Utah chapter of the Smoke Free Trade Alternatives Association. He told the Salt Lake Tribune, “We don’t agree with using children as political props, and today’s tactics by Representative Ray represent an entirely new low.”
Luckily, the more intelligent members of the House, including Reps. Ken Ivory and Doug Sagers, voted the measure down. But Ray didn’t go down without a fight, saying, “We’re not dead yet. I’ll bring it back! I’ll pound it until I wear them down.”
Unfortunately, there isn’t a Senate Subcommittee for legislative insanity. If there were, Ray would have been removed, detained and put into a straightjacket.