clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

House gets bill setting tobacco fines for minors

The House Natural Resources Committee forwarded SB35, which establishes minimum fines for tobacco possession by minors and encourage young smokers to participate in court-approved tobacco education program in lieu of high fines, to the House Wednesday.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Richard Siddoway, R-Bountiful, said the intent of the bill is set fines high enough that young people will seek help rather than pay fines. The bill would "create a situation where young people have an alternative to smoking," he said.Third District Juvenile Court Judge Joseph Anderson told legislators upon his appointment to the bench 21/2 years ago that he quickly discerned that tobacco violations were not a high priority.

"They had to have three tickets before they would go to court. Smoking tickets were some of the first (violations) to be dealt (plea bargained.) This bill would allow the court to enforce the tobacco laws the Legislature have already passed, make penalties stiffer and make youth go to cessation programs.

Kevan Jensen, a Roy mother, told lawmakers her son had been referred to a tobacco cessation class by a peer court. She lauded the program, which emphasized health risks, personal responsibility and communication between parents and their children.

"We need to help kids understand it's OK to say `no,' " she said.

Another tobacco measure, HB31, was held by the committee after it could not reach consensus on some amendments.

That bill, sponsored by Rep. Carl Saunders, R-Ogden, would require direct "face-to-face" sale of tobacco products.