Local health departments would receive more power to control smoke shops and e-cigarette shops under legislation that passed the House Health and Human Services Committee Thursday. HB370 now goes to the full House for consideration.
Rep. Brad Last, R-Hurricane, said his bill would require smoke or vape shops to obtain licenses from local health departments — besides the tobacco licenses they already must obtain from the Utah Tax Commission, and business licenses from local cities.
Health departments have found it difficult to enforce some laws, such as preventing sales to minors or requiring that shops not be located near schools or churches, Last said. He added that health departments now essentially must go to the state Tax Commission and ask that it enforce violations found by threatening to pull its license.