Tobacco 21 Bill Passes in Texas Senate

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Tobacco 21 Bill Passes in Texas Senate

Just as a bill attempting to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 years is introduced on the federal level [read more here], a similar bill is now being considered in the state of Texas.

On April 9, 2019, Senate Bill 21 passed Texas’ Senate in a 20-11 vote. The bill was introduced by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) and had the support of one Democrat, State Sen. John Whitmire, also from Houston. Republicans at first opposed the bill, criticizing the age increase because it conflicted with those who were serving in the military who would want to use tobacco products. With the enlistment age being 18, the bill in its original presentation would have barred young adults from being able to legally purchase these products. Sen. Huffman amended the bill to include the military exemption, allowing for Texans who are 18 years and older that serve in the armed forces to purchase tobacco products if they have a valid military ID. Previously, there was a bill in the lower chamber that passed out of a Texas House committee that did not include the military exemption.