Texas Senate Votes Yes On Raising Legal Smoking Age

If you live in Texas, Senate Bill 21 passed earlier this week on Tuesday.

The law would essentially raise the legal purchasing age for tobacco products from 18 to 21.

However, the author of the bill amended the legislation to exclude members of the military. So if you're in the Army or Navy, you can still smoke.

Texas Tribune reports:

The age of Texans who can legally buy tobacco products could soon rise from 18 to 21 years old — except for active military members.
The Texas Senate on Tuesday passed Senate Bill 21 in a 20-11 vote after state Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, amended her own legislation to include the military exemption. State Sen. John Whitmire of Houston was the only Democrat who voted against the bill.
The bill faced some opposition from Republicans who criticized the age raise because, they said, it denied the right for young adults who enlist in the military to choose to use tobacco products, The Dallas Morning News reported Tuesday. The exception for military members allows Texans who are 18 and older and serving in the armed forces to purchase tobacco products if they have a valid military ID.
A companion bill in the lower chamber passed unanimously out of a Texas House committee last month but did not have the exception for active military. The author of the House bill, Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond, said he would accept an exemption for active military as it would still keep tobacco products away from high school students, according to the Dallas newspaper. Zerwas was not immediately available for comment.
Texas 21, a coalition of organizations aiming to raise the tobacco purchase legal age to 21, released a statement opposing the military exemption after the Senate amendment. Claudia Rodas, a regional director of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in written statement that the coalition will work with legislators to understand the need to include the military in the bill. She said the goal is a law that “protects all young Texans, including those who are willing to die to protect our country.”

In case you're wondering, Lt Governor Dan Patrick is fully on board with this idea.

He says, "Increasing the age to purchase tobacco products in Texas to 21 will not only improve public health and save countless lives, it will save Texans billions of dollars in health care costs."

These politicians insist on making decisions for people they've never previously met. Lucky us.

Photo of irritated smoking lady by Getty Images

The Pursuit of Happiness

The Pursuit of Happiness

Ken Webster Jr is a talk radio personality and producer from Houston, TX. He started his career in Chicago on the Mancow show and has since worked at dozens of radio stations all over the country. He’s currently the host of Pursuit of Happiness... Read more


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