Many people have strong feelings towards certain laws that restrict our personal freedoms such as regulations pertaining to smoking in Utah. New laws are being created every year, and there is usually good intent behind them. However, as our rights have slowly been diminishing, we have begun questioning what it means to live in this free country.
Utah smoking laws seem to make sense to the public majority who don’t smoke. First, the laws determine who can smoke. This mainly helps prevent children from being seen smoking in public. The government has dictated the age requirements for when they feel a person is ready to blow smoke rings. Individuals under the age of 19 can be found guilty of a class C misdemeanor for being caught in possession of any tobacco product. Any adult who provides cigarettes or other tobacco products to a minor, knowingly or unknowingly, faces a class C misdemeanor for the first offense, class B misdemeanor for the second offense, and a class A misdemeanor for the third offense. Furthermore, allowing a minor to smoke in your place of business can also land you with a hefty fine. Minors may cite age discrimination, but lawmakers just tell them it’s for their own good.
Next, laws have been laid down regarding what we can and can’t smoke. In Utah, it’s against the law to smoke crack cocaine. We legally can’t smoke marijuana and we can’t smoke cloves. Just last month, Utah banned smoking the herb known as spice. Laws prevent us from choosing what we put into our own lungs and bodies. Some may say this protects us from hurting ourselves. Others plead with the government to leave them alone, let them live freely and choose for themselves. If you allow them to smoke their weed, they’ll overlook the Triple Chocolate Pecan Brownie Extreme ice cream others feed to their obese children.
Finally, Utah Code prevents citizens from choosing where they can smoke. In 1994, the Utah Indoor Clean Air Act began with disallowing people from smoking within government buildings and public areas. Effective July of this year, smoking will be banned in all indoor places of business including restaurants, cafes, shopping malls, retail stores and even taverns. Not being able to smoke inside of a government building may seem sensible to some people. But, making business owners criminals for allowing patrons to smoke in their own, private place of business defies logic as it pertains to the Constitution and has caused some to question the rights and freedoms we claim to enjoy.
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