In order to prevent its citizens from an "epidemic" of addictive sexual content, Utah became the first US state to formally declare pornography a public health crisis.
A major adult entertainment trade group dismissed the move as "noxious" and an "old-fashioned morals bill," but experts say it could open the door to other US states to follow suit.
‘Utah Governor Gary Herbert stated that pornography is a public health crisis and young people must know that there's a particularly psychological and physiological detriment that comes from addiction to pornography.’"Pornography is a public health crisis. The problem is rampant, yet it thrives in secrecy and silence," Governor Gary Herbert said in a statement after signing the resolution.
"Today's bills will start an open discussion, bringing its very real dangers to light."
The state legislature approved the text earlier this year, calling for "the need for education, prevention, research, and policy change at the community and societal level in order to address the pornography epidemic that is harming the citizens of Utah and the nation."
"We realize this is a bold assertion and there are some out there who will disagree with us. We're here to say it is, in fact, the full-fledged truth," Herbert said during a signing ceremony.
"We also want our young people to know that there's a particularly psychological and physiological detriment that comes from addiction to pornography."
Republican state senator Todd Weiler, who sponsored the bill, defended the measure, saying "we're not spending money and we're not banning anything."
Instead, the resolution calls for people in Utah to cooperate in curtailing the consumption of pornographic material.
The Free Speech Coalition, a trade association for the adult entertainment industry, lashed out at the move.
"The claims and the implied proscriptions harken to the dark days before adult film was legal, and when sex and sexuality were only discussed behind closed doors, if at all."
The governor also enacted a law requiring computer technicians to report to law enforcement any child pornography found while working on a machine.