Texas Senate votes to raise smoking age to 21, exempting active military members

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The Texas Senate voted in favor of Invoice 21 Tuesday that might increase the state’s authorized age to purchase and use tobacco merchandise from 18 to 21 after an modification was added to exempt lively navy members from the brand new age restriction.

The invoice’s sponsor Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) amended her personal laws to exempt lively navy members after receiving pushback from some Republicans who argued the legislation denied younger adults who enlist within the navy the liberty to decide on to make use of tobacco merchandise, The Dallas Morning Information reported.

Lively U.S. navy or state navy power members between the ages of 18 and 20 shall be permitted to buy tobacco merchandise in the event that they current legitimate navy identification, in response to the revised invoice.

PUSH TO RAISE SMOKING AGE TO 21 CATCHES FIRE AT STATE LEVEL

The modification allowed Huffman to safe greater than the 19 votes required within the 31-member physique to approve the proposed laws. The revised model of Invoice 21 handed the state Senate 20-11 with out debate and shall be despatched to the Home for approval.

“I need to thank Sen. Huffman for passing this essential laws for the youngsters of Texas. Senate Invoice 21 will save lives and is an funding in Texas’ future,” Texas’ Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick mentioned in a press release. “Rising the age to buy tobacco merchandise in Texas to 21 is not going to solely enhance public well being and save numerous lives, it is going to save Texans billions of in well being care prices.”

Texas 21, a coalition of teams that helps elevating the authorized age for tobacco merchandise to 21, opposed the navy service member modification to Invoice 21.

“Texas 21 shall be working with legislators to assist them perceive the significance of together with the navy in tobacco 21 laws,” Claudia Rodas of the Marketing campaign for Tobacco-Free Children advised The Dallas Morning Information. “Our purpose is a tobacco 21 legislation that protects all younger Texans, together with those that are prepared to die to guard our nation.”

Huffman acknowledged the coalition’s concern however mentioned the legislation can be impractical for navy members who’ve to maneuver throughout state strains. The state senator acknowledged the significance of the laws to guard younger Texans from creating lethal smoking habits.

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“Whereas I perceive it is nonetheless a problem within the navy, these people are sometimes required to maneuver throughout state strains,” Huffman advised WFAA, including she needed to keep away from any confusion.

“Ninety-five p.c, 95 p.c of grownup people who smoke, start smoking earlier than they flip 21,” Huffman advised WFAA. “Much more astounding is that three-quarters of grownup people who smoke tried their first cigarette earlier than the age of 18.”

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