Over the years, sales of tobacco* to Utah youth have declined to 8 percent. Utah Department of Health works with local health departments to help retailers learn more about the state’s laws.
*For the majority of laws, “tobacco” refers to: cigarettes, cigars, electronic cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, loose tobacco and, in some cases, tobacco paraphernalia. Please contact your
local health department’s tobacco 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 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:
A criminal penalty can be given by police to the person who sold the product (
Utah Code § 76-10-104). 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.
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.
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 (e.g., cigarettes, cigar, smokeless tobacco, etc.) and vapor products.
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:
Tobacco retailers are allowed to sell tobacco by telephone, mail or the internet
only to buyers who have a tobacco license. Tobacco specialty stores 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 make changes to their business policy to prevent the sale of tobacco to unlicensed customers.
For more information, see
Utah Code § 76-10-105.1.
Indoor Clean Air
*In the Utah Indoor Clean Air Act, “smoking” includes combustible tobacco products AND vapor products and hookah.*
The Utah Indoor Clean Air Act (UICAA) was made to protect those in Utah from the dangers of secondhand tobacco smoke. The law was later changed to include e-cigarette vapor. In general, the law bans smoking in almost all government and private businesses in Utah. The law has both a statute and a rule. The law can be found in
Utah Code § 26-38 and the rule in Utah Admin Code R392-510.
Smoking is banned:
Indoor places where there is more than one employee or where the public can enter
Child care businesses
All government-owned buildings and offices
Clubs and taverns
The property of private and public elementary and secondary schools
Buildings operated by social, fraternal or religious groups
Places rented for private events
Wherever the owner has banned it
25 feet from any entrance, window or air intake where smoking is banned
Business owners may prohibit smoking anywhere on their property.
Outdoor smoking areas cannot be within 25 feet of a building entrance, window or air intake.
In places where smoking is allowed, the place must have a HVAC system to prevent smoke from going into a public area.
There must be posted signs stating the smoking status of the place. Sign requirements are specific. Please see
Utah Admin Code R392-510-12 for more information.
Employees who complain against an employer for not protecting them from secondhand smoke cannot be punished by their employer. Penalties
The proprietor (owner, manager, employee, etc.) of the establishment (property, business, building, etc.) is responsible for obeying this law.
If someone is smoking in a prohibited place, the proprietor must ask the person to stop smoking or to leave.
If a proprietor does not comply with the law, they may face a fine of $100 for the first offense, and a fine of $100 to $500 for each subsequent offense.
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.