HB157: Prohibiting Adults from Buying and Using Cigarettes
This bill failed in committee on a 4-8 vote.
Libertas Institute opposes this bill.
In Utah, legal adults who are age 18 are prohibited from purchasing or possessing tobacco, e-cigarettes, or tobacco paraphernalia; you must be at least 19 years old to purchase them. Offenders of this law are punished with a class C misdemeanor.
Representative Kraig Powell has sponsored House Bill 157 in an attempt to raise the age limit from 19 to 21. If enacted into law, this would prohibit legal adults age 18, 19, or 20 from purchasing or possessing the same list of items. It would also ban the sale of such items to those under 21, and prohibit those under 21 from being present at certain establishments where such items are sold or used—unless accompanied by a parent—unless you’re “an active duty member of the United States Armed Forces.”
Rep. Powell sponsored similar legislation last year, but it did not receive a vote. In 2014, Senator Stuart Reid proposed legislation to raise the age limit, but it was defeated in the Senate on a 12-16 vote.
Legal adults who can vote, die in battle, and pay taxes should not be legally punished for smoking. While individuals both young and old should avoid this unhealthy behavior, the government has no place in using the force of law to punish it.