Here we go again. Pipe Tobacco made illegal to save the children.
The unintended consequences of HB0170 for professional tobacconists and their pipe-smoking adult customers is not unlike ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater,’ according to the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association.
The original version of HB0170 prohibited the sale of any kind of flavored tobacco product. As amended, it exempts cigars, but still includes aromatic pipe tobaccos as illegal to sell or purchase in Utah.
"As we understand it, the bill is intended to keep under aged youth from purchasing smokeless and other tobacco products," said Fred Cvar who, along with his wife, Joan, own The Tinder Box in Salt Lake City.
"We have always been against the sale of any tobacco products to anyone under the age of 19 and there are plenty of laws that already prevent that," Cvar added. "HB0170, unfortunately, also would prevent the sale of virtually all pipe tobaccos to our mature adult customers. Such tobaccos, cut and blended especially for use in briar and meerschaum pipes have been enjoyed in all societies around the world since the 1600s."
"We join our Utah tobacconist members in strongly urging Utah state representatives to include such pipe tobaccos in the exemptions to this bill which, if necessary at all, should have a laser-like focus on elimination of sales of all tobacco products to under aged persons," said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association.
The IPCPR is a non-profit organization of more than 2,000 cigar store owners and manufacturers and distributors of premium cigars and pipe tobaccos.
McCalla said most IPCPR members are owners of small, mom-and-pop operations that pay taxes and employ local people. Elimination of adult oriented aromatic pipe tobaccos from the Utah marketplace, he said, would result in virtual elimination of pipe tobacco sales to adults which will reduce legitimate tax revenues for the state and, more importantly, result in lost jobs and failed businesses.
"The last thing Utah needs is lower tax revenues, lost jobs and closed businesses," McCalla said.