On December 20, 2019, the President signed HR 1865 – Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 into law. Section 603 of the bill amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and raises the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years. It is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product – including cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes – to anyone under 21. For more details contact your local health department.
In the past years, the percentage of Utah tobacco retailers who sold tobacco* products to underage youth during underage sale checks has declined to 6 percent. This website has been developed to inform tobacco retailers about Utah tobacco laws and protect Utah youth from the harmful effects of tobacco use and nicotine addiction.
*For the majority of laws, “tobacco” refers to: cigarettes, cigars, electronic cigarette products, electronic-cigarette substances, smokeless tobacco, loose tobacco and, in some cases, tobacco paraphernalia. Please contact your local health department’s tobacco prevention and control program if you have questions on whether a law applies to your product.
Retailers play an important role in reducing youth access to tobacco products.
In Utah, an individual must be 19 years old to purchase tobacco (Utah Code § 76-10-104). With the passage of HB 324 during the 2019 Utah Legislative Session, gradually the age an individual must be to purchase tobacco products will increase. Effective 7/1/2020, individuals must be 20 years old and effective 7/1/2021 individuals must be 21 years old.
Federal law requires a tobacco 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:
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)
Civil Penalty – Given to the owner of the store where tobacco was sold to the youth (Utah Code § 26-62-305)
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.
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.
For more information, see Utah Code § 76-10-105.
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.
*The in-person sale law concerning tobacco products includes traditional tobacco products and vapor products (e.g., cigarettes, cigar, smokeless tobacco, etc.) .
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:
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 change their business policy to prevent the sale of tobacco to unlicensed customers.
For more information, see Utah Code § 76-10-105.1.
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 the rule in Utah Admin Code R384-415.
These standards have been enforced since July 1, 2017.
Labels should be clear and list accurate information. The rule requires:
“WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.”
“WARNING: Keep away from children and pets.”
E-liquid packaging needs to meet the standard of child-resistance laid out by the FDA.
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.
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.
Retailers need to be able to provide documents that confirm that their products meet the requirements of the state rule.
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:
If there is an immediate threat to the public, a violation may be issued during the first visit by the local health department.
If you have questions, please contact your local health department.
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.