After school Wednesday, Toni Larsen stood up tall, donned her most mature, confident face and tried to buy a pack of Benson & Hedges from the 7-Eleven on 100 South.

The clerk eyeballed Larsen's powder blue nail polish and her friends giggling nearby and asked for the 16-year-old's ID. Larsen protested: lost, stolen; her driver's license was somewhere, just not on her."Nope, sorry hon," the clerk shrugged, returning the pack to its overhead cubby. "They aren't good for us anyway."

In the future, things may be different for Larsen and her friends who smoke.

If proposed legislation makes its way to daylight during the upcoming session of the Utah Legislature, that 7-Eleven convenience store clerk may hold Larsen to be arrested, not offer a simple cautionary word.

Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, wants under-age smokers who try to buy Marlboros or Camels to suffer the same consequences as someone who tries to buy beer: he wants them arrested. In Utah, consumers under age 19 can't buy tobacco.

"There ought to be some punishment for juveniles who break the law in this way," Stephenson said.

Stephenson's bill is one of four lawmakers will bring to their colleagues in January in an effort to discourage young people from smoking.

One would tighten requirements for stores that sell tobacco. Another would level a higher fine at teens who possess cigarettes, chewing tobacco or other similar products.

Teens interviewed this week said this approach won't work. No one's going to stick around to get cited, said Tina Murray. "Why wouldn't we just walk away?"

A bill that will be submitted by Sen. Robert Montgomery, R-North Ogden, will appeal to a store's sensibilities by restructuring the process by which stores are allowed to sell tobacco.

Under Montgomery's plan, stores would be required to apply every year for a permit to sell tobacco. If a store was found to sell cigarettes to minors, that permit could be revoked and no tobacco sold at that location. The store could reapply to sell the product, but would have to wait two years to do so after a violation.

As it is now, a store can apply once for a permit that lasts forever.

"The most important thing we can do to get our society away from these very dangerous tobacco products is to keep (people) from starting to smoke when they're young," Montgomery said.

He's prepared for grief from store owners. "They may disagree because they think it's a hassle because of government intrusion into their business practices," he said. It may help store owners instead by re-enforcing the law to employees.

"They can instruct their employees they cannot sell to minors or they'll lose their license," he said. "It's added incentive. It's the law, anyway.

Rep. Carl Saunders, R-Ogden, also is preparing a bill that will add penalties for providing tobacco to a child.

Rep. Dick Siddoway, R-Bountiful, also wants to hit under-age smokers in their pocketbook but wants to make the fine and punishment reasonable.

One day, he wandered down to a Circle K in Davis County and chatted with a group of young people who were standing around, using the phone, chewing tobacco and spitting.

"I asked them, `How severe would it have to be?' "

A fine of only $10 or $20 is "chump change," the lawmaker learned, and teenagers could never pay a $300 fine. "But $50 seemed to get their attention."

The money collected would probably end up in the state's general fund, where it could be used for a variety of purposes, although Siddoway would like to see extra money directed toward stop-smoking programs.

He doesn't envision that an officer would see a young person smoking, stop, check ID and issue a citation. Police probably would stop a young person for another offense and tack on the $50 fine as a secondary punishment.

"Tig," who was killing time waiting for a bus in front of Crossroads Plaza this week, wondered why lawmakers are trying so hard. "Let us smoke," she said. "

But health and safety concerns eliminate this option, Siddoway said.

"I think if we don't do anything, we're sending a fairly clear message that we don't care," Siddoway said. "I look at the ravages of health problems of people who are addicted to tobacco products, and I think we need to let (young smokers) know this isn't acceptable."