Utah would become the first state to raise the age limit for purchasing tobacco products to 21 years old, if a bill passes after it failed to gain enough support in 2014.
This week, a Utah House of Representatives committee will get its first look at the revived bill, which stalled in the Senate last year.
Sponsored by Rep. Kraig Powell, a Republican from Heber City whose district includes Park City, HB 130 would prohibit the sale of tobacco products or related paraphernalia, such as lighters and electronic cigarettes, to people younger than 21 years old.
"The most important fact we keep emphasizing over and over again is that 90 percent of adult smokers began smoking cigarettes prior to the age of 21," Powell said. "If we can delay their first exposure and the early habitual use of cigarettes, it's likely that they won't get hooked."
Utah is one of four states with a legal purchasing age for tobacco products of 19. But if passed, it would become the first state where tobacco and alcohol legislation are in sync.
Despite the bill narrowly passing the Senate Health and Human Services Committee last year, Powell said he is more confident the bill will be successful this time around. But he admitted it will likely face opposition in the Senate again.
"I think there is a good chance that we could pass it this year, but I don't think much has changed in the legislation. So it could be difficult to get senators to change their minds from the way they voted last year," he said.
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