(KCPW News) Hookah tobacco will not be banned in Utah’s bars and clubs after all… at least not for now. In an emergency meeting Tuesday, the legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee asked the state health department to hold off on its new changes to the Utah Clean Air Act, saying it didn’t have the authority to make them. Committee Co-Chair Representative Curt Oda says the health department went overboard in saying that lit and heated tobacco are the same thing.
“The code although it does not specifically define smoke in itself — it does talk about smoking — but the question was not in the smoking, it was the difference between lighted, which is in the code, and heated which is in their rule,” he explains.
Utah Department of Health spokesman Tom Hudachko says the department will begin working with the legislature to fix the law, and hopes it can be changed soon.
“We feel like we presented some very sound, peer-reviewed scientific data at the committee meeting that clearly showed that hookah smoke does pose a risk to individuals, the secondhand smoke that’s created from smoking hookah pipes, so we’ll certainly work with the legislature and do what we need to do to clarify the law and protect the public,” says Hudachko.
Representative Oda says a new law could be passed as early as the October 3rd special session.