Texas Will Raise Legal Smoking Age To 21 In September
Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently signed a bill into law raising the minimum age to 21 to purchase tobacco products within the State Of Texas.
With the signing of his name Friday afternoon (June 7th) on bill that previously passed the Texas House and Senate, beginning September 1st, Texas becomes the seventh state to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21. There is one exception to this new law though, military members that are 18 or older may still purchase tobacco products.
Offenders of the new law could be fined up to $500 and would be a Class C Misdemeanor.
ABC 13 reports supporters of the bill say that this new law should reduce the risk of addiction.
Texas 21 coalition's John Zerwas, a Texas State Representative, said,
As a physician, the health-related importance of this proposed legislation can't be denied. As chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, I'd also like to point out that Tobacco 21 isn't just responsible public health policy, but it's also fiscally responsible for the State of Texas. Every year smoking costs Texas $8.85 billion in direct health care costs, $1.96 billion in Medicaid costs and $8.22 billion in lost productivity. In addition, each Texas household pays $747 in state and federal taxes due to smoking-caused government expenditures."
The Texas 21 press release also mentions:
About 95 percent of smokers start before age 21. In Texas, 7.4 percent of high school students smoke and over 10 percent use e-cigarettes, while 10,400 kids become daily smokers every year. Nearly half a million (498,000) Texas kids alive now will ultimately die prematurely from smoking if current trends continue."
The new law goes into effect September 1, 2019.