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Utah State Sen. Todd Weiler: Porn Is a Public Health Crisis

A Utah legislator says pornography is like cigarettes — a public health crisis.

State Sen. Todd Weiler has introduced a legislative resolution that would recognize the "societal harms" posed by pornography.

"Pornography perpetuates a sexually toxic environment," the Republican legislator's resolution reads. "Efforts to prevent pornography exposure and addiction, to educate individuals and families concerning its harms, and to develop recovery programs must be addressed systemically in ways that hold broader influences accountable."

Todd Weiler Utah
In this March 5, 2015, file photo, Todd Weiler, a Republican senator from Woods Cross, speaks during a committee hearing, in Salt Lake City. Weiler wants to declare pornography a public health crisis, echoing an argument being made around the U.S. by conservative religious groups as porn becomes more accessible on smartphones and tablets. Rick Bowmer / AP

Weiler's resolution goes on to blast porn for equating "violence towards women and children with sex and pain with pleasure" and "lessening desire in young men to marry, dissatisfaction in marriage, and infidelity."

"I am not trying to ban pornography," Weiler told NBC News. "What I am saying is we have taken steps to protect people from tobacco, but we haven't done that for pornography."

Weiler said what he would ultimately like to see changed is the default settings on the internet to make access to pornography more difficult.

"I do believe pornography is addictive," he said.

Internet porn appears to be a plague in Weiler's home state.

A Harvard study back in 2009 found that Utah's religious residents were the nation's top consumers of online porn.

Subsequent researchers have questioned the methodology and findings of the Harvard study, which was titled "Red Light States: Who Buys Online Adult Entertainment?"