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SALT LAKE CITY — An attempt to raise the legal smoking age in Utah to 21 failed in the Senate on Monday.
Under SB12, Utah would have been the only state in the country to prohibit tobacco use for anyone under 21. The Senate defeated the bill 12-16.
Although senators agreed about the dangers of smoking, they said they couldn't support the bill for several reasons, including criminalizing smoking at that age, loss of tobacco tax revenue to the state and personal responsibility.
"What's the difference between 19 and 21? I don't see any. These are not children," said Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City.
Senators also cited the fact that teenagers can drive, go to war, open bank accounts and get married at age 19 for their opposition to the bill.
Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, said there is inherent value on those things.
"There is no inherent value in smoking — none whatsoever. It is destructive in every way, shape and form," Reid said.