Effective July 1, 2018, businesses that sell any tobacco or tobacco-related (including e-cigarette/vaping) products must be permitted by the Salt Lake County Health Department.
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On December 20, 2019, the President signed legislation to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and raise the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years. It is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product to anyone under 21. This includes cigars, cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, tobacco paraphernalia, and related products.
A person who sells a tobacco product to someone underage can be charged criminally as follows:
- 1st offense: Class C Misdemeanor, resulting in up to 90 days in jail and/or a maximum fine of $750
- 2nd offense: Class B Misdemeanor, resulting in up to 6 months in jail and/or a maximum fine of $1,000
- 3rd offense: Class A Misdemeanor, resulting in up to 1 year in jail and/or a maximum fine of $2,500
A tobacco retail store/license holder where an employee sells tobacco illegally may be subject to the following fines:
- 1st offense: up to $300
- 2nd offense: up to $750
- 3rd offense: up to $1,000 and a 30-day suspension of tobacco license
- 4th offense: up to $1,000 and 1-year revocation of tobacco license
(Repeat offenses and associated penalties are based on a 12-month “rolling calendar” from the date of the first offense.)
The State of Utah has developed UtahTobaccoLaws.org to help tobacco retailers understand the laws and licensing requirements associated with selling tobacco and nicotine products.
There are also federal laws that Utah tobacco retailers are required to follow. Visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for more information about retailer education materials and a full list of applicable federal laws.
The following are acceptable forms of identification that customers may use to purchase tobacco or related products:
- Current Utah driver license
- Current Utah identification card
- Current out-of-state driver license
- Current military identification card
- Current passport
- If a driver license is in the vertical format, it means the bearer of the driver license may be under 21 years of age.
- If a customer cannot present an I.D. listed above or refuses to provide the clerk with their I.D., this could be a red flag that the customer is not 21 years of age.
- A retailer can always refuse to sell tobacco to a customer if the retailer cannot verify the customer's age.
For more information about Utah Driver Licenses and I.D. cards, visit the Utah Department of Public Safety's Driver License Division.
Know the Laws
- Keep tobacco and related products locked up and monitor them constantly
- Review Utah's tobacco laws during new and ongoing employee trainings
- Post a copy of Utah's tobacco laws in a conspicuous place
- Let your employees know that you support the law 100%
Policies and Procedures
- Develop and implement strict tobacco policies and procedures regarding age verification
- Post consequences for those who sell tobacco to minors
- Include policy requiring staff to advise underage youth to leave the outlets premises when they are using tobacco
- For new and existing employee, schedule ongoing training that includes:
- Utah Tobacco Laws
- A clear definition of what constitutes a tobacco product
- Legal age for purchase (21 years of age)
- Instructions of how and when to ask to for I.D.
- Instructions of how to identify a false I.D.
- Instructions on how and when to refuse a tobacco sale
- The consequences of an illegal sale
- Signing tobacco sales agreements
- Contact the health department at 385-468-3646 to schedule a We I.D. Everyone training or to request retail education materials.
- Review Utah's tobacco laws and store policies and procedures in staff meetings
- Practice mock sales with employees frequently
- Post notices and reminders near cash registers, tobacco products, break rooms, bathrooms, etc.
- Post your store's tobacco policy where employees will see it often
- Post a copy of tobacco related laws
- Post a copy of the penalties for those who sell tobacco to minors
- Conduct surprise internal tobacco compliance checks
- Offer incentives (such as a $10 dollar bonus, gift certificate, etc.) for employees who pass external and internal compliance checks
- Encourage employees to help and remind each other not to sell to minors
- Post signs stating that you don’t sell to minors where customers can easily see them (front doors, counters, windows)
- Contact WE CARD at 1-800-934-3968 for materials to help you reduce sales to minors
- Use computerized date prompt registers when ringing up sales, and then deny the sale if patron is underage
Check I.D. Every Time
Ask anyone who looks under 27 to show you a current photo ID.
Check the Birth Date
Utah’s driver licenses also show the year in which the individual is old enough to purchase tobacco (in blue) and alcohol (in red) to the right of their picture.
Don’t Fall For Excuses
"They’re for my mom and dad" or "I have a note from my mom."
Customers must be 21 or older to buy tobacco, period. You are the one who would be fined or sent to jail if you sell to a minor.
What to say if the customer does not have ID
"I'm sorry, but I can’t sell you tobacco without a picture ID to verify your age."
What to say if the customer is not 21 or older
"I’m sorry, but it’s illegal for me to sell cigarettes to anyone under 21 years old."
You can always refuse to sell tobacco to anyone who does not look old enough, even if they have ID.