Utah History to Go
The Cigarette Ban of the 19020s Caused an Uproar
From War to war


World War I and Utah
Utah's Capitols
Herbert S. Auerbach, Renaissance Man
Utah's "Ugly Duckling" Salt Flats
Publicizing Bryce Canyon
The Last Indian Uprising
Home Industry 20th Century Style
Some 80 Utah Nurses Served in World War I
World War I Heroine Maud Fitch Lived in Eureka, Utah
Mexican Families and the Sugar Industry in Garland
The Development of Zion National Park
The Twenties
Artist John Held, Jr. Created Cultural Icons, 1920's
Media Development in Weber County
Silent Films Intrigued & Occasionally Offended
Coal Production Amid the Wars
Sheep Fueled 1920's Economy
Military Installations
Boxcars and Section Houses
Jack Dempsey Loved Fighting, Mining, and Cowboying
Radio in Utah Began in May 1922 on Station KZN
The Cigarette Ban of the 19020's Caused an Uproar
Prohibition Failed to Stop the Liquor Flow in Utah
Lawyer Ran For President on the Farmer-Labor Ticket
George Sutherland Served on the U.S. Supreme Court
Alice Stratton Feared and Made Fun of "Kaiser Bill"
Klansmen at a Funeral and a Terrible Lynching
President Harding's 1923 Visit to Utah
Growing Crops For the Cannery
Dinosaur National Monument
The Fathers of Capitol Reef National Park
Ogden's the Bigelow-Preserves a Historic Area
Philo T. Farnsworth's Invention
The Beginnings of Commerical Aviation
The White Book Road Guide
The Great Depression
Depression Memories
"Even Grasshoppers Were Starving" During Drought
New Deal Agencies Built 233 Buildings in Utah
"Alphabet" Agencies in Utah County
The Civilian Conservation Corps Was a Boon to Utah
The Civilian Conservation Corps
Marriner S. Eccles Helped Design FDR's New Deal
Reed Smoot and the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, 1930
Reed Smoot & America's Natural Resources, 1903-33
Children in the 1930's Hoped to Become Nurses & Pilots
Arches National Monument
A Labor Inspector During the Great Depression
Clean Clothes Blowing in the Breeze
Utah's Rosies in the War
Garfield County Airport Has Unusual Hangar
Marie Ogden Led Spiritual Group in San Juan County
Uinta Basin Group Trekked to the 1933 World's Fair
Helen Hofmann Bertagnole-"Utah's Queen of Swing"
World War II in Utah
How Trains Helped Win a War
The War Effort at Home
Topaz Relocation Center
Topaz: Japanese American Interned in UT During WWII
Japanese Agricultural Colony at Keetley
Utahn Survives the Attack at Pearl Harbor
The USS Salt Lake City Made History
Utah Naval Officer Died a Hero's Death at Pearl Harbor
Rhymes Filled Children's Autograph Books
Utah's Rosies Upshot
Women Workers and Housing Issues
World War II Claimed the Lives of Four Utah Brothers

W. Paul Reeve
History Blazer, February 1995

On February 24, 1923, a determined crowd of Utah citizens packed the Orpheum Theater in Salt Lake City to voice their "emphatic condemnation" of Utah's "freak" anti-cigarette law. The meeting was organized by a committee of businessmen spurred into action by the arrest of several well-known citizens on charges of smoking in public dining rooms.

The Utah State Legislature had passed the cigarette ban in 1921, but it was never significantly enforced until the early part of 1923 when police officers began arresting Utahns for smoking in public places. Four prominent Utah businessmen, including Ernest Bamberger, National Republican committeeman and former senatorial candidate, were netted for smoking after-dinner cigars in the Vienna Cafe in Salt Lake City. Such drastic measures soon caught national attention, and one speaker at the mass meeting for the law's repeal claimed that "Utah . . . is being ridiculed from ocean to ocean and from Canada to the gulf . . . because of its freak legislation." Another critic claimed the cigarette law was "obnoxious" to a large number of Utahns and was "a check on personal liberty." Other opponents of the law claimed that the ban on the sale of cigarettes had failed to deter smoking and instead had given rise to bootlegging. In fact, one speaker, H. R. Macmillan, asserted that more cigarettes were being sold in Utah in 1923 than had been sold before the ban.

It was not long before the State Legislature responded to the uproar over the unpopular law. On March 9, 1923, lawmakers nullified the ban and enacted legislation that permitted the licensed sale of cigarettes and the advertising of tobacco. Many provisions of the bill were hotly debated. Some wanted to maintain the prohibition on advertising to prevent the state's young people from being tempted. One lawmaker proposed an amendment that would have divided restaurants into smoking and nonsmoking sections. The proposal, however, was voted down after another legislator cited one Salt Lake City establishment that had attempted such a division. It seemed to that date there had been no meals served in the nonsmoking dining area. The final bill, which limited advertising to newspapers and permitted the sale of cigarettes only by licensed businesses, passed the House on a vote of 33 to 20. The Senate concurred without discussion. Ironically, the State Legislature would pass another ban against smoking in public places 71 years later. It went into effect January 1, 1995. Concerned about the possible danger of breathing second-hand smoke, many Utahns embraced the measure, and hardly anyone dared to call it "freak" legislation.

For additional information see John S. H. Smith, "Cigarette Prohibition in Utah, 1921-23," Utah Historical Quarterly 41 (fall 1973): 358-72.


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