High school students threatened over support for e-cigarette bill in Utah legislature

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Davis High School Senior Cade Hyde should be feeling really proud right now, but he and his friends are feeling afraid instead after receiving threats on social media.

"We started with my school, built up to our school district and now we're statewide," Hyde said. "We're a statewide, student-run coalition that's supporting House Bill 333."

Hyde created Students Against Electronic Vaping - or SAEV- in November, and, since then, the coalition and its anti-e-cigarette message is spreading like wildfire.

"It really spread so fast because kids realize it's a health issue," Hyde said. "They know it's a problem, so everyone's like, 'Of course I'll support this. This is the right thing to do.'"

Unfortunately, instead of pride, Hyde and his friends in the coalition are afraid. In the past few weeks, Hyde and other members of SAEV have been receiving threats on social media.

Most are too vulgar to share. Others say things like, "This makes me want to throat kick someone" or, "Die. Please."

Some of the people posting threats have been identified as former Davis High School students. Others appear to be adults and vape shop owners.

Whoever they are, Representative Paul Ray, sponsor of HB 333, has a message for them: "Knock it off. You're not helping your cause by coming up here and acting like a kid yourself."

The Davis County Sheriff’s Department is now conducting an investigation. Ryan Wilko, a detective with the Kaysville City Police Department, said the consequences can be serious.

“It would be a class B misdemeanor, threats towards an individual or somebody else to do physical harm, or a harassment-type charge," Wilko said.

No matter what happens, these students won't back down.

"I’m just going to keep pushing for this bill, and this coalition is going to keep going, and we're going to get House Bill 333 to pass," Hyde said.

The bill is currently in the tax and revenue committee, and Representative Ray expects there to be a hearing next week.

8 comments

  • miles(dave)

    i dont smoke anything. however i like the vaporizers/ecig/etc. they are much much better for you than the other traditional means. hands down im not saying they are good, they do indeed do damage, but it is minuscule. there are only 4 ingredients in most vape juices and the only one that is significantly bad for you is the nicotine. these are a great tool for quitting smoking or at least making it better for you and those around you. even with this information me and the rest of my family dont permit them to be used around our children because your body dose not absorb all thats in them and some is exhaled, anyway based on what little i studied about this bill i dont see any good coming from it. one of its parts looked to me like they want to treat them the same as tobacco. i prefer to leave it up to the establishment owner to say if they want them used in there place of business.

  • FalkenVape

    In what country should anybody be proud to promote intolerance and to reduce access to something that can help others when himself doesn’t use or need it ?
    Not at all a reason for threat or bad language but a real reason for really not being proud.

  • ANOTHER-ANOTHERBOB

    @FALKENVAPE
    Translation: If I don’t agree with an opinion that person who expresses it must surely be intolerant.

  • Yasmine

    Wow, immature, they tattled on the news feeling “threatned” like really people say stuff on media everyday, like the stupidy of it and the reason so many people think it’s stupid is because there facts are wrong and almost every teen vapes and they don’t have any health issues. That’s why everyone is saying it’s stupid because it is! Of course your going to be threatened. It’s social media.

    • ERIC ANDERSON

      No Yasmine, the majority of young people in my neighborhood don’t vape. They know how stupid it looks, and more intelligent ways to utilize their time. Only idiots walk down the sidewalk leaving a trail of vapor and thinking they are cool. They aren’t.

  • Jeannie Kerswill

    The threat was uncalled for. I am an ecig user and I advocate for them as a reduced harm option for smokers. My only wish is that these kids knew all of the actual facts before supporting bills that will leave many smokers still at risk. They should look into the documentary A Billion Lives. It was filmed by non vapers by the way.

  • Tom Blackwell

    I don’t understand why the Utah government is using children as a pawn to raise taxes on an adult product.
    Also ‘Die Please’ isn’t a threat it’s a statement.
    There is no good reason to tax the antidote for tobacco related disease there is even less of a good reason to use kids as political pawns.
    Even worse the kids are being led to about the “dangers of vaping”
    it’s almost like they’d rather kids (and Adults) smoke real cigarettes.

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