AP

Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed a bill and a resolution on Tuesday declaring porn a public health hazard in the state. That's not to say that porn is banned in Utah–just that, in the government's view, Utah is going through a "pornography epidemic" and efforts must be made to discourage people from accessing porn.

The resolution, which doesn't impose new rules on anyone who buys or sells porn, says  that "pornography perpetuates a sexually toxic environment" and corrupts our views of teens, children, and women. The bill is aimed at child pornography specifically, requiring computer technicians to report any illegal material they find.

Back in February State Senator Todd Weiler, who sponsored both bills, told the Salt Lake Tribune that the aim of the measures is not to ban masturbation. "I believe pornography today is like tobacco was seventy years ago. Seventy years ago people said tobacco is not addictive and it's not harmful. That's what some people are saying about pornography today," he said. "I believe that it is addictive and it is harmful. It's undermining marriages, it's undermining relationships."

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Some experts see this as a more nuanced issue, and say bundling child pornography and adult pornography together is misguided. “So much of the anti-porn movement is based on a sense of alarmism," Ian Kerner, a psychotherapist and sex expert, told USA Today. “In this country, we really bundle together children and teens with consenting adults, and the issues are not the same for children and teens as they are for consenting adults."

And porn industry groups say stigmatizing porn can do more harm than good. "We should live in a society where sexuality is spoken about openly, and discussed in nuanced and educated ways, and not stigmatized," Mike Stabile, from the porn industry group The Free Speech Coalition, told the BBC.

One 2009 Harvard study found that Utah is the nation's top consumer of online porn. But the state targeting porn as a primary public health matter is an interesting choice for a state that could have a far more serious public health problem: sex education is still "abstinence-based" in Utah. The effectiveness of abstinence-focused programs has been called into question by several studies. There's been some debate in recent months about changing the sex ed policy, but that didn't gain much traction–unlike the porn bills, which seems to have come up against very little resistance.