Bill proposes raising the legal age to buy tobacco to 21
February 22, 2019 06:36 PM
SANTA FE, N.M. - HB 342 would raise the age to buy tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21. Six other states have already passed similar legislation.
According to a fiscal impact report on the bill, the Institute of Medicine estimates raising the age from 18 to 21 to buy tobacco products would result in more than a 15 percent reduction in smoking rates among youth under the age of 21.
The State Department of Health says tobacco use kills more than 480,000 people nationally and 2,800 people in New Mexico each year.
Mike Bond, who owns Stag Tobacconist, says he supports raising the age to buy tobacco products to keep young people from getting hooked on nicotine.
"I will probably lose a few customers in that age group. We do have customers in the 18-20 age group. It wouldn't have a huge impact on our business," Bonds said.
The bill also adds increased penalties for minors who purchase tobacco products and anyone who sells them to minors.
If the bill passes, the change would take effect on July 1.
Updated: February 22, 2019 06:36 PM
Created: February 22, 2019 04:26 PM
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