Utah Tobacco Laws

Reporting Violations of Utah Youth Access Tobacco Laws

Why You Need to Get Involved

The laws mentioned below primarily relate to preventing underage access to tobacco. The need to curtail underage sales of tobacco to youth is supported by research that shows 60% of adult tobacco users begin by age 14 and 90% of adult tobacco users begin using by age 19.

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Historically, the main source of tobacco for underage youth has been retail outlets. In 2011 Utah's illegal underage sale rate for tobacco was 5.7%. In some communities the rate is lower, in others significantly higher. To see what the results for your community are go to the Utah Tobacco Prevention and Control Program Annual Report.

Utah law enforcement agencies have been supportive of efforts to educate retailers, youth, and communities about the need to reduce youth access to tobacco. But increasingly tight budgets and other community needs compete for law enforcement resources. 

That's where the community becomes critical to efforts to eliminate illegal underage sales and use of tobacco. By working with local health departments, law enforcement agencies, schools, retailers, and community groups to prevent and control underage tobacco use, you can help.

Who Enforces Utah Tobacco Laws?

The following select list of laws represents most tobacco-related laws enforced by local law enforcement agencies. Please note that Utah Code 26-42-1 to 7 and 59-14-201 are enforced by local health departments and the Utah State Tax Commission.

For a complete listing of laws, users of this site are encouraged to
refer to the Utah Code and the Utah Administrative Rules.

A select listing of youth access laws is available for reference on this web site.

How to Get Involved

There are several ways you can become involved. They include:

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Complimenting retailers who refuse underage tobacco sales when you observe them doing it.
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Contacting store managers to report sales by clerks to youth who appear younger than 19 years of age.
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Supporting local community efforts to recognize retail outlets that make extra efforts to eliminate illegal underage sales to youth.
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Supporting local community efforts to recognize retail outlets that make extra efforts to eliminate illegal underage sales to youth.

How to Report a Violation of Youth Access Laws

If you make a report to your local law enforcement agency, please
be prepared to supply the following information:

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The name and address of the business or building.
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The day(s) and time(s) when you observed the sale(s).
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A detailed description of the person allegedly making an illegal sale, including the person's name if they are wearing a name badge.
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A brief description of what you saw happen.

Your local law enforcement officials can identify other information they may need when you contact them.

What Happens When A Report is Received?

Reports about criminal violations are dealt with at the local law enforcement level. Once a report is received, the local law enforcement agency has several options including:

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Discussing the report with local retailers and encouraging them to train their employees.
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Increasing their presence in the area to discourage underage youth from attempting to buy tobacco.
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Conducting an underage compliance check to determine if a retail outlet is in compliance with the law.

If a violation of sales laws is found, the individual who makes the illegal underage sale is typically issued a citation and must appear in court. Possible fines and jail time, if any are listed below. Non-sale related laws, such as those related to advertising, also can result in a person being issued a citation and having to appear in court. In the case of illegal underage sales of tobacco to youth, store licensees are also subject to civil monetary and license revocation action by local health departments and the Utah State Tax Commission respectively.

Who To Contact

If you live in a city or other incorporated area, contact your local police department. There phone number is typically found in the government section of telephone directories. In some cases they may also be found in the business section of telephone directories. 

If you live in an unincorporated area within a county, contact the county sheriff's office.

For local health department contacts you can refer to our resource


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