Utah will be the first state in the nation to go "smoke-free" when the Utah Indoor Clean Air Act takes effect Jan. 1.

Passed by the 1994 Legislature, the act prohibits smoking in all public places, including restaurants, stores, bowling alleys and businesses. Penalties for "lighting up" include fines of up to $100 for a first offense and up to $500 for subsequent offenses.Rep. Jordan Tanner, R-Provo, sponsor of the act, said the legislation is a response to mounting evidence that environmental tobacco smoke (secondhand smoke) can kill people.

Co-sponsor, Sen. Robert Montgomery, R-Ogden, said he believes Utah's law will encourage other states to adopt similar laws.

Private clubs, taverns, hotel and motel guest rooms, fraternal and religious organizations and specified enclosed areas of the Salt Lake International Airport are exempt from the ban. The law lets employers of non-public businesses establish smoking areas under limited circumstances. They must provide ventilation, have no public access and get the approval of three-fourths of their employees.

For more information about the new law, call 1-800-894-7651.