Utah lawmakers OK ban on hookahs, e-cigarettes
The Senate gave final approval Thursday to a ban on smoking hookahs and electronic cigarettes in indoor public places.
However, HB245 exempts hookah bars and e-cigarette shops from the ban for five years, when the exemption will sunset, and the Legislature may revisit whether to extend it.
The Senate voted 24-3 to approve the bill, and sent it to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature.
Until now, hookahs and e-cigarettes fell into a gray area because Utah's Indoor Clean Air Act bans only igniting tobacco. Hookahs heat tobacco in pipes that pass through water and e-cigarettes vaporize a liquid with nicotine, but neither ignites tobacco.
Passage comes after protesters smoked hookahs outside the Capitol early in the session, attempting to show that they do not cause secondhand smoke. Hookah bars contended the ban eventually could put them out of business and cost jobs.