The city's tobacco regulations may have to be weakened to comply with a new state law.
"From what I understand, our ordinance would have to be revisited," said City Attorney Gordon Duval.The new law requires stores to keep tobacco products away from juvenile shoplifters. Another provision prohibited local governments from enacting tobacco regulations more stringent than state law.
Gov. Mike Leavitt on Tuesday allowed the bill to go into law without his signature.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Carl Saunders, R-Ogden, originally required retailers to conduct all cigarette and chewing tobacco sales face-to-face.
At the request of the Utah Retail Merchants Association, the bill was amended with a clause that requires all local laws to be essentially identical to the law, which requires packs and cartons to be kept in locked containers but allows cases of tobacco products to remain unlocked on the store floor.
Duval said this apparently will mean Pleasant Grove will have to scale back its 3-year-old ordinance that requires tobacco products to be placed behind the store counter.
The ordinance, pushed by the Pleasant Grove High School's Esteem Team and the city Youth Coun-cil, serves the additional purpose of keeping tobacco products out of sight.
The Esteem Team and the American Cancer Society's Utah division petitioned Leavitt to veto the bill because of the clause regarding local ordinances.
Leavitt said he supported the bill's intent but had problems with the clause and that was why he chose to let it become a law without his signature.
Joan Smith, the Esteem Team's adviser, said the bill waters down the ordinance her students pushed through and does not adequately address the issue of shoplifting, since teens looking for cigarettes can either steal the large cases or break them open and take the contents piecemeal.
But, she said, it will provide some rules for cities that don't have restrictions on tobacco sales.
Pat Tucker, the Utah County Health Department's tobacco prevention specialist, said the law is good in that it requires all retailers to take steps to curb teen tobacco sales and theft.
However, Tucker said that it does not solve the problem of in-store advertising. By leaving the products in view, even in a locked cabinet, the displays serve as additional advertising for a deadly product, he said.