Bill to increase age for buying tobacco products heads to committee

Politics - Government

The session is halfway done, and the push to increase the minimum age to 21 to buy tobacco products like cigarettes and e-cigarettes still hasn’t gone anywhere. However, it could start picking up momentum next week. 

People in favor of the idea say it’s all about keeping young people healthier. 

“Eighteen-year-olds still don’t know what this would do to their bodies into the future and I agree with that factor about increasing the age,” parent Josh Grassham said. 

Senate Bill 342, sponsored by Democrat Linda Lopez, would require people to be 21 years old to buy tobacco products like cigarettes, e-cigs, cigars, chewing tobacco or nicotine liquid containers. 

One teen said she knows plenty of people at her high school who smoke. 

“I think it’s always smart to raise the age limit because they don’t understand what they’re doing to their bodies at this age, so I think I’m in favor of it,” Emilly Grassham said. 

According to the CDC, in 2015, a third of New Mexican high schoolers were using tobacco products. Other people who spoke off camera about this issue argue that 18-year-olds are legally adults and should be able to make up their own minds. 

It’s in its first committee Tuesday. 

Military members 18 and up would still be able to buy tobacco products. There are other tobacco bills in the session to ban e-cig smoking indoors and to raise the tobacco tax. 

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