Tobacco is a drug. Whether it is legal or not does not change the fact that it is an addictive and damaging substance. While Utah has preserved the freedom of adults 19 and over to choose for themselves, laws have been set and are actively enforced to protect younger people from developing early addictions to this deadly substance.
Any person, regardless of their relationship to the minor, who provides a tobacco product of any kind to someone under the age of 19, is guilty of a class C misdemeanor on the first offense. The second offense will lead to a class B charge and the third a class A misdemeanor.
This law applies if a salesperson allows a young person to purchase smokeless tobacco, if an older friend offers a smoke to a younger friend, or if parents allow access to the cigar collection. These charges all come with their penalties, according to the level of offense.
The young person who buys, attempts to buy, or has in his or her possession any tobacco products also faces charges. The original charge is a class C misdemeanor which comes with a minimum fine of $60 and participation in a court-approved tobacco education program, which also comes with a participation fee.
It is against the law for any person or business to sell, make, or exchange cigarettes without first going through the licensing process for the state. They must be prepared to even refuse business to persons under age 19 who frequent the business while using tobacco.
Laws regarding tobacco advertisement are also seriously limited and regularly enforced. No billboards or other forms of outdoor advertisement, except for signs right outside a shop, can display tobacco products for sale. While smokeless tobacco may be placed in a newspaper ad, a legal warning of its harmful effects must be included in the ad. Utah takes the protection of young people, from the effects of tobacco, very seriously.