The idea of raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products in Utah is back in the state House of Representatives, as Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber City, has introduced HB 0130 seeking to do just that.
Powell was the House sponsor of a similar bill introduced in the state Senate last year, a bill that died in March 2014. Should this edition pass the legislature, it would prohibit the possession of tobacco, e-cigarettes, or paraphernalia by an individual less than 21 years of age; as well as prohibit the sale of those products to a person under 21 years of age.
The other provisions in the bill would prohibit a person less than 21 years of age from being present at certain establishments where tobacco, e-cigarettes, or paraphernalia are sold or used, and would prohibit a proprietor of a business from allowing an individual less than 21 years of age to frequent the business while the individual is using tobacco.
It’s those last two provisions that have similarities to another piece of legislation introduced by Powell, as HB 0131 would clarify existing law that an individual less than 19 years old cannot be present in a tobacco specialty shop unless accompanied by a parent or guardian, and even if accompanied, the minor wouldn’t be allowed to make a purchase.
HB 0130 currently sits with the House Rules Committee, while HB 0131 is being held by the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee.