Indiana committee approves raising cigarette purchase age to 21
The bill, sponsored by Democrat Charlie Brown, would raise the age needed to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A plan is moving forward in Indiana that would raise the purchase age for tobacco products across the state.
House Bill 1380 passed a legislative committee Monday morning, clearing its first major hurdle in becoming state law. The bill, sponsored by Democrat Charlie Brown, would raise the age needed to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21.
“It was a very pleasant surprise,” Brown said Monday of it’s passage out of committee.
A similar measure was proposed last year but died in committee.
“Try it, see what’s going to happen,” said Annie Reiss, Clark County Tobacco Prevention Coordinator. “It can work, you just have to give it a chance,and you have get people to understand why we want that done.”
Part of the bill included a measure that would have moved Indiana’s cigarette tax from $1 to $3, but that provision was taken out of the bill on Monday.
“It’s rare that I can get a majority of my colleagues to agree on a tax increase during the short session,” Brown said.
However, many lawmakers are balking at the idea.
“I hate it,” said Republican Jim Lucas of Seymour. “This is a personal choice. Everyone knows the consequences of smoking."
Lucas believes if a person is old enough to serve in the military, they should be old enough to use tobacco.
“Are we going to have government make decisions for young people that can die for their country?" Lucas said in an interview Monday evening.
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives will first have to vote on the measure before it moves onto the Senate. A House vote could come as early as the end of this week.