Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Law Banning E-Cigarettes and Hookah in Public Places Now in Effect

(Salt Lake City) – House Bill 245, Definition of Smoking in the Utah Indoor Clean Air Act, passed during the 2012 Utah Legislative session went into effect May 8, 2012. The amendment changes the definition of smoking to include e-cigarettes and hookahs, and bans the use of these items in public places. The Utah Indoor Clean Air Act already prohibits smoking in all publicly-accessible, enclosed indoor facilities, whether publicly or privately owned. §26-38-3(1), §26-38-2(a)-(p).

The Bill allows limited exemptions for businesses that permit hookah use and e-cigarette sampling. “Businesses that apply for the exemption will be allowed time to transition into compliance with the new law,” said Steve Hadden, Health Program Specialist, Tobacco Prevention & Control Prevention, Utah Department of Health. Affected businesses have until July 1, 2012 to apply for the one-time, 5-year exemption.

Businesses that permit the use of hookah can qualify for the exemption by sending a letter of application and supporting documentation to the Utah Department of Health by July 1, 2012. To qualify for the exemption, businesses must meet all of the following criteria as of January 1, 2012:

The business had and currently maintains a class C or D liquor license;
The business has sold and currently sells a mixture of tobacco and other flavors for the purpose of heating, inhaling, and exhaling through a hookah pipe in the business’ public access areas;
The business relied on the sale of mixed tobacco and other flavors for use in a hookah for at least 10% of its gross sales.

Hadden said, “Those businesses that are granted an exemption will be required to meet other criteria during their five-year exemption in order to maintain compliance. Local health departments will be completing regular compliance checks on those businesses.”

Tobacco use is the single greatest cause of preventable death in Utah, claiming more lives
than car crashes, murders, suicides, AIDS, alcohol use, drug abuse, and fires combined.  For free help quitting smoking, call the Utah Tobacco Quit Line at 1.800.QUIT.NOW,
or visit

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Media Contact:
Steve Hadden, Health Program Specialist
Tobacco Prevention & Control Program