Tobacco Sales

On December 20, 2019, the President signed legislation to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and raise the federal minimum age of sale for tobacco products from 18 to 21 years old.

Effective July 1, 2020, all Utah age-related tobacco laws have been updated from age 19 to age 21. It is now illegal for a retailer to sell tobacco products, electronic cigarette products, nicotine products, and tobacco paraphernalia to anyone younger than 21, including military personnel.

The definition of what is considered a tobacco product, an electronic cigarette product, and a nicotine product has recently changed. Some examples of these products include the following:

  • Cigarettes
  • Cigars
  • Snuff
  • Loose tobacco (pipe tobacco)
  • Chewing or smokeless tobacco
  • Bongs
  • Electronic cigarettes
  • Electronic cigarette substance or liquid
  • Nicotine dissolvable salts, orbs, pellets, sticks, or strips

For the definitions of tobacco products, electronic cigarette products, and nicotine products, please go to Utah Code § 76-10-101. Please contact the local health department for questions about whether these product definitions apply to a specific product the business wants to sell or offer.

Underage Sales

In the past years, the percentage of Utah tobacco retailers who sold tobacco products, electronic cigarette products, and nicotine products to underage youth during underage sale checks has declined to 6 percent.

Retailers play an important role in reducing access to tobacco products, electronic cigarette products, and nicotine products to individuals younger than 21. In Utah, an individual must be 21 years old to purchase tobacco products, electronic cigarette products, and nicotine products (Utah Code § 76-10-104).

Federal law requires a tobacco retailer, to check the photo identification of a customer buying tobacco if the customer is younger than 27 (21 C.F.R. § 1140.14(b)).

Law enforcement agencies are required to investigate the sale of tobacco products, electronic cigarette products, and nicotine products to underage individuals a minimum of two times within a 12-month period at each retailer that sells these products. Additional investigations are allowed if there is reasonable suspicion to believe the establishment has sold a tobacco product, an electronic cigarette product, or a nicotine product to an individual younger than 21 (Utah Code § 77-39-101).

These underage sale investigations are conducted using individuals younger than 21 in coordination with the police and local health departments. The underage individual is sent into the business to purchase a tobacco product, an electronic cigarette product, or a nicotine product. Stores that sell tobacco products, electronic cigarette products, or nicotine products to individuals younger than 21, are issued fines, and may not be allowed to sell these products in the future.

Two penalties can be given if the retailer sells tobacco products, electronic cigarette products, or nicotine products to an individual younger than 21:

  1. A criminal penalty can be given by police to the individual who sold the product (Utah Code § 76-10-104).
  2. A civil penalty can also be given by the local health department to the tobacco permit holder of the store (Utah Code § 26-62-305§ 26-62-402).

Criminal Penalty – Given to the individual who sold the tobacco products, electronic cigarette products, and nicotine products to the individuals younger than 21 (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 tobacco permit holder of the store (Utah Code § 26-62-305§ 26-62-402). The civil penalties imposed are different depending on if the employee or the tobacco retail owner made the illegal sale.

First Violation:

Employee Sale: Fine of no more than $500, imposed on Tobacco Retailer.
Tobacco Retail Owner Sale: Fine of no more than $2,000, imposed on Tobacco Retailer.

Second Violation (within 24 months):

Employee Sale: Fine of no more than $750, imposed on Tobacco Retailer.
Tobacco Retail Owner Sale: Fine of no more than $5,000, imposed on Tobacco Retailer and revoke tobacco permit; and if applicable recommend to a municipality that the retail tobacco specialty business license issued under Utah Code § 10-8-41.6 or Utah Code § 17-50-333 be suspended or revoked.

Third Violation (within 24 months):

Employee Sale: Fine of no more than $1,000, imposed on Tobacco Retailer or suspension of tobacco permit for 30 consecutive business days.

Fourth Violation (within 24 months):

Employee Sale: Fine of no more than $1,000, imposed on Tobacco Retailer and revoke tobacco permit; and if applicable recommend to a municipality that the retail tobacco specialty business license issued under Utah Code § 10-8-41.6 or Utah Code § 17-50-333 be suspended or revoked.

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. The Utah Tobacco Retailer Guide and training is an approved employee training program.

Tobacco Paraphernalia

Businesses are not allowed to sell tobacco paraphernalia to individuals younger than 21. The penalty for doing so is a Class C misdemeanor for the first offense, and a Class B misdemeanor for each subsequent offense (Utah Code § 76-10-104.1). For examples of what is considered paraphernalia, please go to Utah Code § 76-10-101(18).

Penalties for Underage Purchases

The following are the penalties for individuals younger than 21 who purchase tobacco products, electronic cigarette products, or nicotine products:

  • An 18-year-old offender – guilty of an infraction, 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 includes tobacco products, electronic cigarette products, and nicotine products. For the definitions of these products, please go to Utah Code § 76-10-101.

In Utah, a business can only sell tobacco products, electronic cigarette products, or nicotine products to a customer in person, meaning a business cannot sell any of these products 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 products, electronic cigarette products, or nicotine products by telephone, mail or the internet only to buyers who have a tobacco license.
  2. Retail tobacco specialty businesses 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 products, electronic cigarette products, and nicotine products away from individuals younger than 21. Within a store, it’s easier for the cashier to check for identification. This is more difficult when the sale happens over the phone or online. We encourage retailers to change their business policy to prevent the sale of tobacco products, electronic cigarette products, or nicotine products to unlicensed customers.

For more information, see Utah Code § 76-10-105.1, § 59-14-509, § 59-14-808.

Itemized Receipts

As of July 1, 2020 all tobacco retailers shall provide the customer with an itemized receipt for each sale of a tobacco product, an electronic cigarette product, or a nicotine product that separately identifies:

  • the name of the tobacco product, the electronic cigarette product, or the nicotine product;
  • the amount charged for each tobacco product, electronic cigarette product, or nicotine product; and
  • the date and time of the sale;

In addition, all tobacco retailers are required to maintain an itemized transaction log for each sale of a tobacco product, an electronic cigarette product, or a nicotine product that separately identifies:

  • the name of the tobacco product, the electronic cigarette product, or the nicotine product;
  • the amount charged for each tobacco product, electronic cigarette product, or nicotine product; and
  • the date and time of the sale.

The itemized transaction log shall be maintained by tobacco retailers for at least one year after the date of each transaction in the itemized transaction log, which must be made available to an enforcing agency or a peace officer at their request.

For more information, please see Utah Code § 26-62-206.

E-Cigarette Substance Standards

The Utah Department of Health has standards for labeling, nicotine content, packaging, product quality, and record keeping and testing. The authority for these standards can be found in Utah Code § 26-57 and in Utah Administrative Rule R384-415.

These standards have been enforced since July 1, 2017.

LABELING

Labels should be clear and list accurate information. The rule requires:

  • The labels have a safety warning.
  • The safety warning should take up 30 percent of the container’s display panel.
  • Products with nicotine follow the same safety warning standards as required by the FDA and state:

“WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.”

  • The warning for nicotine-free products states:

“WARNING: Keep away from children and pets.”

  • Products may not be sold if they are labeled as having:
    1. Additives that are linked to health or energy
    2. Illegal drugs
    3. Additives that color the vapor

PACKAGING

E-liquid packaging needs to meet the standard of child-resistance laid out by the FDA.

NICOTINE CONTENT

The amount of nicotine in an e-liquid product should be below 360mg per container.
The concentration of nicotine should be below 24mg per mL of liquid product.

PRODUCT QUALITY

When the FDA institutes its process to approve electronic-cigarettes, retailers shall only sell an electronic-cigarette substance that has been approved for regulatory sale by the FDA.

RECORD KEEPING

Retailers need to be able to provide documents that confirm that their products meet the requirements of the state rule.

INSPECTIONS

Inspections will be carried out in a similar way to other health laws − through complaints and inspections. The following is a general pattern of e-liquid inspection:

  • Local health department staff sees a violation or receives a complaint from the public.
  • Local health department staff does an inspection and if a violation is found, the local health department may give a notice to the store to fix the problem.
  • If a notice is given, local health department staff will do another inspection at that store. If the problem is not fixed, a notice of violation may be given and would count as a violation against that store’s tobacco retail permit.
  • The local health department staff will conduct another inspection to see if the violation is resolved.
  • If the violation is not resolved, another notice of violation may be given and would count as a 2nd violation against that store’s tobacco retail permit (Utah Code §. 26-62-301).

If there is an immediate threat to the public, a violation may be issued during the first visit by the local health department.

Effective July 1, 2021, standards of labeling; nicotine content; packaging; and product quality will apply to manufacturer sealed electronic cigarette substances. Those standards are in the process of being developed (Utah Code § 26-57-103). If you have questions, please contact your local health department.

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 the local health department where the business is located for a comprehensive list of applicable local ordinances.

Find the local health department’s contact information here.

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