(KCPW News) A statewide ban on flavored nicotine candy failed in the House Business and Labor Committee on Friday. Representative Paul Ray’s bill would have banned stores from selling gum, dissolving strips and other candy-like products that have not been approved by the FDA for helping someone quit smoking. A frustrated Ray addressed his supporters in the hallway after his bill was voted down.
“What they’re telling us is their profits, tobacco companies’ profits are a lot more important than the health of Utah children and Utah families, and that is not to be tolerated,” he said. “I say we come out there, we work the legislature, we do not let this issue die. Do not feel like you’ve been beaten. You got duped.”
Lawmakers on the committee argued they would support restrictions on nicotine candies, but an outright ban that would impact the rights of responsible adults goes too far. And advocates said nicotine products like flavored e-cigarettes helped them quit smoking.
Bonneville High School’s Nick Porter, who came to the hearing to support the measure, was in tears outside the committee room when it was voted down.
“I’m just disappointed that our state officials can’t make a decision to serve the families and to protect the kids,” he told KCPW. “This is something I feel passionately about that we should keep out of Utah something that’s so deadly.”
The bill was rejected on a 4-to-10 vote. But Ray said he still has a chance to bring it back to committee, which he plans to do.