It’s been tried before and failed, but that isn’t stopping two Utah state legislators from once again attempting to raise the minimum age to purchase and possess tobacco products and electronic cigarettes from 19 to 21.
Yesterday Rep. Kraig Powell (R-Heber City) and Sen. Brian E. Shiozawa (R-Salt Lake City) introduced HB 0157 into the legislature, which is proposing the increase as well as several smaller changes to existing legislation.
The changes proposed by Powell and Shiozawa keep the existing fines for retailers in place, which start at up to $300 for a first violation and escalate up to $750 for a second violations and up to $1,000 for a third violation within 12 months of the first. It also retains the provision that makes it illegal for a person between 18 and 21-years-old to possess any type of tobacco product and subjects them to a class C misdemeanor and a minimum fine of $60, as well as participation in a court-approved tobacco education program.
Should it pass, the changes would go into effect on July 1, 2018.
The Utah legislature convenes for the 2016 legislative session on Monday, Jan. 25.