Texas Governor Signs 21+ Tobacco Bill into Law
The very controversial Texas Senate Bill 21 has officially become a law. Governor Gregg Abbott signed the bill into law on Friday, making the Lonestar State the 16th in the nation to raise the minimum legal age for purchasing cigarettes, cigars, snuff, or any form of tobacco to 21 years old.
Legislators claim that the law will help combat the phenomenon of underage smoking by making regulations for purchasing them even more stringent. Texas21, a coalition organizations dedicated to preventing tobacco use, claims that a full 95% of smokers start before the age of 21. The thinking is, if the law prevents those under 21 from legally buying and using tobacco products - the overall number of smokers will start to drop.
Before the passage of the law, critics balked at the fact that under the new law an 18 year old Texas citizen could sign up for, join, and die for his or her country - but not make the choice to buy cigarettes. Lawmakers agreed and amended the bill to include an exemption for members of the military.
According to easttexasmatters.com, the new law also legally bans those under 21 from buying and using e-cigarettes (A.K.A. "vapes"). The law takes effect September 1st.