Indiana Senate committee passes bill to raise legal tobacco age limit from 18 to 21

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) — How old is old enough to smoke?
A proposal to raise Indiana’s legal smoking age passed out of one committee at the statehouse and is headed to another.
“Overall, it’s a great move because we want to see the youth not pick up the tobacco,” Tammy Taylor from Tobacco Free Allen County says.
Taylor is encouraged about a proposal at the statehouse to raise Indiana’s legal age from 18 to 21 to buy tobacco — and liquids with nicotine — that passed out of a Senate committee by a vote of 8-to-2.
The proposal would exempt members of the military.
“85-90% adults start as a teenager, so it’s very hard for them to quit as an adult,” Taylor says.
Freshman State Senator Justin Busch, who represents Fort Wayne, was one of the two on the Senate Health Committee to vote no.
He said on the phone that he sets the bar really high when considering taking away a person’s rights, freedoms, or personal decisions, and that the measure didn’t meet his standards.
He also said he thinks if 18-year-olds can join the military and fight for our country, they should be able to smoke since they’re considered adults.
Non-smoker Rhea Adams thinks the legal age should be raised to 21, except for military personnel.
“You’re old enough to be able to get into the military, you should be old enough to be able to do X, Y, and Z, may it be smoke, may it be drinking. You’re out there saving our country, you should be allowed to do those things. So when they show ID, it should be the military ID, not your drivers license. So it’s okay for those 18-year-olds to smoke, just not.. My opinion. yeah, yep,” Adams says.
We talked with another non-smoker and a smoker to see what they thought about raising the legal age.
They both agreed it should be 21.
“Just try it for one or two years, see how it goes and see how the ins and outs go with it. And if it happens to change, it can change it back. So I think it’s a good thing that people be a little bit more responsible, just like they would alcohol being a regulated substance the way it is. So I think it’s a good idea,” non-smoker Jihad Shabazz says.
“Why do you think it should? Just because I wish I wouldn’t have started when I did. So if it pushes people off to start later on then that’s fine. Or if it keeps people from smoking at all, that’s good,” smoker Nick Parent says.
Senate bill 425 now heads to the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee for consideration.

Corinne Rose

Corinne Rose

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