Tobacco Sales

Over the years, sales of tobacco* to Utah youth have declined to 8 percent. Utah Department Of Health works with local health departments to help retailers learn more about the state’s laws.

*For the majority of laws, “tobacco” refers to: cigarettes, cigars, electronic cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, loose tobacco and, in some cases, tobacco paraphernalia. Please contact your local health department’s tobacco control program if you have questions on whether a law applies to your product.

Underage Sales

Retailers play an important role in reducing youth access to tobacco products.

In Utah, a person must be 19 years old to purchase tobacco (Utah Code § 76-10-104).

Federal law requires a retailer to check the photo identification of a customer buying tobacco if the customer is under the age of 27 (21 C.F.R. § 1140.14(b) 2016). Because youth often get tobacco from local stores, compliance checks are done by local health departments with the police and youth aides. The youth aide is sent into the store to purchase a tobacco product. These checks are one way to help reduce youth access to tobacco products because they locate stores that sell tobacco to youth. Stores that sell tobacco to youth are given fines and may not be allowed to sell tobacco in the future.

Two penalties can be given if the store sells tobacco to a youth:

  1. A criminal penalty can be given by police to the person who sold the product (Utah Code § 76-10-104).
  2. A civil penalty can also be given by the local health department to the owner of the store  (26-42-101 to 107).

The compliance checks can be done two times a year, unless there is reasonable suspicion that the retailer is selling tobacco to minors (Utah Code § 77-39-101).

Criminal Penalty – Given to the person who sold the tobacco to the youth (Utah Code § 76-10-104)

  • First Offense – Class C Misdemeanor
  • Second Offense – Class B Misdemeanor
  • Third Offense – Class A Misdemeanor
  • Subsequent Offenses Class A Misdemeanor

Civil Penalty – Given to the owner of the store where tobacco was sold to the youth (Utah Code § 26-42-103)

  • First Violation – $500
  • Second Violation (within 24 months) – $750
  • Third Violation (within 24 months) – $1,000 and the business is not allowed to sell tobacco for up to 30 days
  • Fourth Violation (within 24 months) – The business is not allowed to sell tobacco for a year.

Civil monetary penalties can be reduced if the holder of the tobacco license provides proof of an employee training program and that the employee was trained.

Tobacco Paraphernalia

Businesses are not allowed to sell tobacco paraphernalia to minors. The penalty for doing so is a Class C misdemeanor for the first offense, and a Class B misdemeanor for each subsequent offense. For what is considered paraphernalia, please go to Utah Code § 76-10-104.1.

Penalties for a Minor Buying Tobacco Products

  • An 18-year-old offender – Class C misdemeanor, a $60 fine, and participation in a tobacco education program
  • An offender under the age of 18 – $60 fine and participation in a tobacco education program

For more information, see Utah Code § 76-10-105.

Clove Cigarettes

Utah law prohibits the sale or gift of clove cigarettes. The penalty for violating this law is a Class B misdemeanor. For more information, please see Utah Code § 76-10-105.3.

In-Person Sale Laws

*The in-person sale law concerning tobacco products includes traditional tobacco products (e.g., cigarettes, cigar, smokeless tobacco, etc.) and vapor products.

In Utah, a business can only sell tobacco to a customer in person, meaning a business cannot sell tobacco to a Utah customer by telephone, mail, the internet, or through self-service displays. There are two exceptions to this law:

  1. Tobacco retailers are allowed to sell tobacco by telephone, mail or the internet only to buyers who have a tobacco license.
  2. Tobacco specialty stores and adult facilities are allowed to have self-service displays, such as vending machines.

Those who break this law can be given a criminal penalty.

This law is meant to keep tobacco away from youth. Within a store, it’s easier for the cashier to check for ID. This is more difficult when the sale happens over the phone or online. We encourage retailers to make changes to their business policy to prevent the sale of tobacco to unlicensed customers.

For more information, see Utah Code § 76-10-105.1.


Indoor Clean Air

*In the Utah Indoor Clean Air Act, “smoking” includes combustible tobacco products AND vapor products and hookah.*

The Utah Indoor Clean Air Act (UICAA) was made to protect those in Utah from the dangers of secondhand tobacco smoke. The law was later changed to include e-cigarette vapor. In general, the law bans smoking in almost all government and private businesses in Utah. The law has both a statute and a rule. The law can be found in Utah Code § 26-38 and the rule in Utah Admin. Code r. 392-510.

Smoking is banned:

  • Indoor places where there is more than one employee or where the public can enter
  • Child care businesses
  • All government-owned buildings and offices
  • Work vehicles
  • Clubs and taverns
  • The property of private and public elementary and secondary schools
  • Buildings operated by social, fraternal or religious groups
  • Places rented for private events
  • Wherever the owner has banned it
  • 25 feet from any entrance, window or air intake where smoking is banned

Other provisions

Business owners may prohibit smoking anywhere on their property.

Outdoor smoking areas cannot be within 25 feet of a building entrance, window or air intake.

In places where smoking is allowed, the place must have a HVAC system to prevent smoke from going into a public area.

There must be posted signs stating the smoking status of the place. Sign requirements are specific. Please see Utah Admin. Code r. 392-510-12 for more information.

Employees who complain against an employer for not protecting them from secondhand smoke cannot be punished by their employer.

Exemptions

  • Signed rooms in hotels or motels
  • Smoking rooms at the international airport

Penalties

  • The proprietor (owner, manager, employee, etc.) of the establishment (property, business, building, etc.) is responsible for obeying this law.
  • If someone is smoking in a prohibited place, the proprietor must ask the person to stop smoking or to leave.
  • If a proprietor does not comply with the law, they may face a fine of $100 for the first offense, and a fine of $100 to $500 for each subsequent offense.

Local Ordinances

Local health departments have additional ordinances governing the sale of tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes. It is important for retailers to understand these local ordinances in addition to the state and federal rules. Reach out to your local health department for a comprehensive list of your local ordinances.

Find your local health department’s contact information here.

Cannon Health Building, 288 North 1460 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84116 | 1-888-222-2542
 
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