Utah Bars Go Smokefree January 1, 2009..

December 31, 2008 - On January 1, 2009 Utah's progress in providing smoke free environments will reach a new milestone. At that time taverns and private clubs will join thousands of other businesses in the state that already provide smoke free air for their workers, customers, and visitors.

Initial concerns by bar and club owners in those states about the impact on their businesses have vanished and tax receipts clearly indicate no loss of business. In fact, clean air venues may be attracting new customers who previously refused to patronize taverns and private clubs laden with toxic secondhand smoke. Several taverns and private clubs across Utah have already gone smoke free and report business is better than ever.

Lawmakers passed a law banning smoking in private clubs and taverns in 2006, but it only applied to newly licensed clubs. At midnight, all bars must go smoke-free. Under the new law, anyone caught smoking in a bar could face a $100 fine for the first offense and up to a $500 fine for a second offense. The state health department says bars can also be fined up to $5,000 for allowing smoking.

References: Utah Taverns and Private Clubs Go Smoke-Free January 1, 2009, Utah Tobacco Prevention and Control Program, 12/30/2008; Smoking in Utah bars to be outlawed at midnight by Brock Vergakis - The Associated Press - Daily Herald, 12/31/2008.