Tobacco policy and vaping updates 2020

We are entering an exciting time of the year where there is great potential for change in the field of tobacco and drug prevention, especially when talking about preventing use among our youth population. The Utah State Legislative Session begins January 27th and ends March 12th. During this time, the Utah State Legislature has the opportunity to pass many bills, but the ones that we are most concerned about are those that could change the course of the youth vaping epidemic that we have seen across the country, and in our county. The following vaping related bills have been proposed. We encourage you as members of the DPC coalition and as private citizens to contact your legislators and let them know your stance on these issues. We have the opportunity to educate and inform legislators about these issues and use our voices to protect the youth of our state and county. 

Ways you can contact your legislators: 

  • Find out who your legislators are https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/
  • Call your Legislators office or their personal phone number  
  • Participate in the DPC Coalition Capitol Day
  • Write your legislator a letter 
  • Contact your legislator on Twitter or other social media platforms 

Utah Tobacco Bills

  • Electronic Cigarettes in Schools Amendments (No bill #) 
    • Address substance use by students
    • Alters provisions related to underage possession and purchase of e-cigarettes
    • Requires schools to adopt e-cigarette discipline procedures, renames current Underage Drinking program
    • Adds 4th and 5th grade education requirements to current prevention program
    • Requires schools to provide a stipend for a specialist to administer the program. 

  • Tobacco Retailer Amendments (HB 23) 
    • Amends provisions related to tobacco retailers
    • Modifies the definition of a retail tobacco specialty business
    • Changes the number of times compliance checks can be conducted
    • Changes terms for tobacco permit violations 
  • Electronic Cigarette and Other Nicotine Product Amendments (SB 37) 
    • Changes provisions relating to e-cigarettes and other nicotine products
    • Requires retailers to provide itemized receipts and transaction logs
    • Imposes an excise tax on the sale of e-cig products 
    • Prohibits e-cigarette discounts, or giveaways. 

  • Retail Tobacco Specialty Business Amendments (HB 118) 
    • Amends the provisions relating to the sale of tobacco products 
    • Amed definition of retail tobacco specialty business to include any retailer that sells a flavored tobacco product
    • Requires retailers to maintain certain records
    • Prohibits e-cigarette discounts and giveaways

  • Youth Electronic-Cigarette, Marijuana and Other Drug Prevention Program (SB 40)
    • Creates the Youth Electronic Cigarette, Marijuana, and Other Drug Prevention Program with Utah Department of Health
    • Creates a committee to advise the new program
    • Creates e-cigarettes Substance and Nicotine Product Tax Restricted Account
    • Established various reporting requirements and a sunset date

  • Joint Resolution Encouraging Local Health Departments to Set Licensing Rules (No bill #) 
    • Bill language not yet public
    • Previous discussion of the bill suggested that it might include allowing local health departments to cap the number of tobacco retailers in their jurisdictions
  • Tobacco Settlement Funds Amendments (HB 135) 
    • Amends provisions relating to the Tobacco Settlement Trust Fund
    • Redirects 40% of tobacco settlement funds received by the state from the General Fund to the Permanent State Trust Fund. 

Guest post by: Brooke Hunsaker

Comments or Questions?