Senate Bill Could Raise Legal Age to Buy Tobacco

CHARLESTON– A senate committee advanced a bill that would change the legal age to buy tobacco products to 21 years old.

Senate Bill 37, would raise the legal age to purchase tobacco and vapor products from 18 to 21. Hawaii and California have done something similar along with certain municipalities in Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, New York, New Jersey and Ohio.

The bill was referred to the senate finance committee after much debate.

Sen. Robert Karnes questioned the zero fiscal note, saying he thought it seemed ridiculous. He said by his calculations, the state would at least lose $6 million to $7 million a year.

Karnes also said it wouldn’t prevent people younger than 21 years old from smoking and would make “a new class of criminals” of people currently addicted.

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