Tobacco Sales

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.

Underage Sales

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:

  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  (Utah Code § 26-62-305).

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 § 26-62-305)

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

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 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:

  1. Tobacco retailers are allowed to sell tobacco by telephone, mail or the internet only to buyers who have a tobacco license.
  2. Retail tobacco specialty businesses 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 change their business policy to prevent the sale of tobacco to unlicensed customers.

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

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 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:

  • 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


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:

  • 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, they 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 your 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 your 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.

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 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