Texas Smoking Age Could Soon Be Raised From 18 to 21
In a vote Tuesday afternoon, the Texas House voted to raise the legal age of smoking from 18 to 21 within the state of Texas.
Passing the Texas House, representatives approved Senate Bill 21 raising the minimum age to purchase all tobacco products to 21, including the purchase e-cigarettes and cigarettes. The bill is now headed back to the Senate for final approval along with the five amendments that were added in the House. If Senate Bill 21 is passed, Texas will join 13 states that have already passed laws raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21.
Rep. John Zerwas from Richmond, a physician who sponsored the legislation, said the measure would protect young adults who are "highly susceptible" to an addiction to tobacco products. "The idea behind this bill is essentially to move that risk away from those people that are most susceptible to it," according to the Texas Tribune.
Rep. Matt Schaefer (Tyler) proposed an exemption to the bill. Any active duty military member 18 or over stationed in Texas may still purchase cigarettes, tobacco and e-cigs with a valid military ID. If the Senate passes the bill with this exception Texas would become the third state with such exemption for active military members.
Once voted on in the Senate, the law will go into effect this September if passed.