UPDATE Nov. 29: Photos added from the Washington County Youth Coalition’s 2013 Great American Smoke Out on Nov. 21. Click here to see the full Facebook photo gallery.
SALT LAKE CITY – In Utah a person can legally purchase tobacco and e-cigarette products at 19. State legislators want to raise the legal age to 21, and a bill that would do just that is advancing through the Legislature.
On Wednesday, the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee passed a bill that would raised the legal smoking age from 19 to 21. Those who passed the bill believe it will promote better public health and act as an additional deterrent to teenage smoking. Opponents of the bill aren’t as optimistic.
As reported by Fox 13 News, Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, the bill’s sponsor, said raising the age will “keep the young people from being addicted. Something that we know creates death and health problems.”
Rep. Brian Greene, R-Pleasent Grove, said 19 wasn’t a deterrent to smoking. “What makes you think that 21-year-old age will be a deterring factor?”he said.
Dave Davis, a representative of the Utah Food and Retailers Association, was the only person to testify against the bill and asked the committee: “When can we be adults in the state of Utah?”
If the bill passes in the upcoming 2014 legislative session, Utah will become the first state to raise the smoking age.
The Great American Smoke Out: Free ‘quit kits’ offered
The Washington County Youth Coalition, a youth group focused on tobacco, substance, and alcohol prevention, is participating in the National Great American Smoke Out event on Nov. 21 this year. The GASO is a national event that celebrates those that have quit smoking, and encourages tobacco users to quit.
This year, the coalition’s community event will be held at the Dixie Rock, also known as Pioneer Park, from 4:30-5:30 p.m. At the event the youth group will offer information regarding resources available to quit.
Free “quit kits” will be given to those wanting to quit smoking, which have been assembled by the members of the WCYC. They will also display posters educating the community on the 1-800-QUIT-NOW hotline, as well as the utah.quitnet.com website.
A lot of people are turning to e-cigarettes to quit smoking, and the WCYC are concerned. These devices have not be regulated, and they have not been tested to prove they help in cessation. The group’s statement issued on the event stated it wants to offer resources that have been tested, and information to help.
For those unavailable to attend the event, quit kits are available at the Southwest Utah Public Health Department.
- When: Thursday, Nov. 21, 4:30-5:30 p.m.
- Where: Pioneer Park, Red Hills Parkway, St. George
Now available from STGnews.com
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