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Indiana House panel backs bill raising smoking age to 21

The House Public Health committee voted 9-0 Monday on the measure.

Posted: Jan 29, 2018 10:33 PM
Updated: Jan 30, 2018 7:55 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (WFFT/AP) - Indiana's legal age for buying tobacco products would increase from 18 to 21 under a bill backed by a House panel.

The House Public Health committee voted 9-0 Monday on the measure sponsored by Democratic Rep. Charlie Brown of Gary. Brown also wanted to increase Indiana's $1 per pack cigarette tax to $3, but that provision was stripped out by the committee.

Indiana consistently ranks poorly among states when it comes to key measures of public health, including smoking rates.

"I think it would be a good idea," said Brian Hartman.

Hartman quick smoking January 1, after smoking for decades.

"I started when I was 16. I'm 46 so 30 years of smoking. Luckily I taught my kids to not to do what I have done," he said.

Brown says raising the age would create a powerful disincentive to smoke. He says that would not only improve health, but also save the state money. That's because many poor people who receive subsidized health care are smokers.

Hartman said he supports the measure because he doesn't want younger generations to become hooked on cigarettes.

"Especially if they don't get served or the chances to buy them. Yeah 21-years-old, if you take it up then it's kind of stupid. I did it at 16 because it was the 'cool' thing," said Hartman.

Jeremy Jackson also believes raising the legal age to smoke is good for kids.

He compared it to the drinking age.

"You have more people at the age of 19 not drinking, you have a better chance of kids not smoking," he said.

Jackson said ultimately, it's the parents' responsibility to make sure kids don't start the habit so young.

"I think it does start with us. I think as a parent my self it is a good start. If we're allowing kids at a certain age to start smoking earlier, obviously there's going to be a lot more followers," Jackson said.

However, Stephen Reinhart doesn't think raising the age to 21 will help stop kids from trying cigarettes.

"Kids are going to find a way to get a hold of cigarettes anyways," Reinhart said.

He added he's not sure if the law will be enforced, if approved, as easily as underage drinking.

"All they're going to do is put the cigarette out and chances are the cops probably won't even card them for that," said Reinhart.

Convenience store associations say an age increase would cut their profit margins.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 48626

Reported Deaths: 2717
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11723689
Lake5212244
Elkhart332051
Allen2815132
St. Joseph198168
Cass16399
Hamilton1596101
Hendricks1414100
Johnson1288117
Porter73637
Tippecanoe7279
Madison66364
Clark66044
Bartholomew58944
Howard58057
LaPorte57926
Vanderburgh5706
Kosciusko5564
Marshall4926
Noble48428
Jackson4723
LaGrange4719
Delaware45050
Boone44943
Hancock44935
Shelby43025
Floyd38244
Morgan32931
Monroe30128
Montgomery29720
Grant29526
Clinton2892
Dubois2836
Henry28016
White26510
Decatur25532
Lawrence24625
Vigo2368
Dearborn23323
Warrick22129
Harrison21622
Greene19032
Miami1842
Jennings17612
Putnam1708
DeKalb1634
Scott1628
Daviess14717
Wayne1426
Orange13523
Perry1359
Steuben1302
Franklin1268
Ripley1227
Jasper1212
Wabash1132
Carroll1102
Fayette1017
Newton9910
Whitley965
Starke933
Gibson872
Randolph804
Huntington782
Wells751
Jefferson722
Fulton711
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Owen491
Benton480
Sullivan451
Posey440
Spencer411
Blackford392
Brown391
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton311
Switzerland270
Martin230
Parke230
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 58904

Reported Deaths: 2970
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10587431
Cuyahoga8048379
Hamilton6158204
Lucas2788303
Marion273439
Pickaway220141
Summit2175207
Montgomery213431
Mahoning1849238
Butler163747
Columbiana130660
Stark1133113
Lorain105167
Trumbull97473
Warren88124
Clark7729
Delaware58815
Fairfield58516
Tuscarawas56810
Belmont55422
Medina53632
Lake50819
Licking49612
Miami47231
Portage44959
Ashtabula43644
Wood43651
Clermont4226
Geauga40843
Wayne36352
Richland3475
Allen32341
Mercer2879
Greene2769
Darke25326
Erie24622
Holmes2393
Huron2232
Madison1999
Ottawa15024
Sandusky13714
Crawford1365
Washington13520
Ross1303
Putnam12915
Coshocton1272
Hardin12312
Morrow1171
Auglaize1074
Jefferson912
Monroe8917
Union891
Muskingum861
Hancock791
Hocking788
Preble781
Guernsey743
Lawrence720
Williams722
Shelby694
Clinton680
Logan641
Athens631
Fulton620
Ashland601
Carroll593
Wyandot595
Brown581
Knox521
Defiance513
Fayette460
Highland451
Scioto450
Champaign411
Van Wert380
Perry351
Seneca342
Henry300
Paulding260
Adams241
Jackson240
Pike240
Vinton222
Gallia181
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
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