A new tobacco tax went into effect July 1st. The new law is making headlines all over the state, but you might be interested to know that it isn't the first time a cigarette law has caused controversy in Utah.
In 1921, the legislature passed Senate Bill 12: "An act making it unlawful: to sell cigarettes and cigarette papers; to advertise cigarette and cigarette papers; to permits minors to smoke in certain places of business; for any person to smoke in certain enclosed public places." The law was met with a lot of frustration and anger. One Box Elder News article complained that the law was not being enforced. One 1922 editorial in the Duchesne Courier favored repealing the law, which was declared "nothing more than a joke."
In 1923 the legislature amended the law to permit the sale of cigarettes and cigarette paper through the obtaining of an annual permit from the city or county's governing body. The law was Senate Bill 184. The permit was quite expensive--a $500 bond had to be paid to the city or town, and the annual permit fee ranged from $25 to $100 dollars. Today, the cigarette licensing fees are $30 for the first three years and $20 for subsequent three-year renewals. The $500 bond is not applicable to retailers, but wholesalers and distributors are still subject to a bond.
Want to see how Utah's newest cigarette laws compare with the rest of the nation? Check out the interactive map from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It shows smoke-free laws and cigarette tax rates as they've changed every year since 2000. You can also click on individual states to show exact tax rates from 2000 to today.