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Utah smoke shops may need health department approval

Posted - Feb. 23, 2017 at 10:42 a.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY — Vaping and specialty smoke shops may soon need to get approval from local health departments in addition to business licenses from the tax commission and local jurisdictions.

Local health departments are having trouble enforcing health issues found in various shops throughout the state, including shops selling to minors, said Rep. Brad Last, R-Hurricane.

Last is sponsoring HB370, which would change the regulatory responsibility from the tax commission to the health department.

"We want to try to give them more strength in their ability to regulate," he said.

Last said the tax commission is "not suited to be handling these health-related regulations."

Response from the industry is mixed, as some believe the legislation would be restrictive.

The bill requires businesses applying for a license starting in January 2018 to abide by city zoning laws, which restricts vaping and smoke shops from being within 1,000 feet of a public facility.

Some existing facilities are in violation of the zoning laws but would be grandfathered into the new law if it is approved by the Legislature.

— Wendy Leonard

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