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.

Cases: 295357

Reported Deaths: 5305
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion40796844
Lake25864448
Allen17025289
Elkhart16389209
St. Joseph16125217
Hamilton12225163
Vanderburgh9218112
Tippecanoe807627
Porter770176
Johnson5971161
Hendricks5719154
Vigo563274
Monroe519846
Clark486774
Delaware4721103
Madison4651119
Kosciusko437339
LaPorte436792
Howard321375
Warrick309072
Floyd301177
Bartholomew296262
Wayne292261
Cass291231
Marshall283642
Grant254147
Noble244246
Hancock238949
Henry234136
Boone231754
Dubois229230
Dearborn204629
Jackson200033
Morgan196043
Gibson171622
Knox170715
Clinton170420
Shelby170453
Lawrence169246
DeKalb168428
Adams160019
Miami150414
Daviess149143
Wabash148118
Fayette141233
Steuben139713
LaGrange135127
Jasper134911
Harrison134624
Montgomery127926
Whitley127410
Ripley121414
Decatur119842
Posey116613
Putnam115626
Wells115427
Huntington115210
White115221
Randolph114619
Clay111821
Jefferson110314
Scott97918
Greene97553
Jay93012
Starke87021
Sullivan85515
Perry80521
Spencer7957
Jennings79114
Fulton78717
Fountain7257
Washington6966
Carroll65313
Orange64828
Franklin63525
Owen5676
Vermillion5662
Newton53412
Parke5296
Tipton52826
Blackford50011
Rush5006
Pike49618
Pulaski36410
Martin3425
Brown3153
Benton3101
Crawford2711
Union2551
Switzerland2453
Warren2272
Ohio2227
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 351419

Reported Deaths: 5996
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin48389665
Cuyahoga34096734
Hamilton28674371
Montgomery19082225
Butler14138144
Lucas13446406
Summit12431309
Stark8122197
Warren770375
Mahoning6772299
Lake625466
Lorain590297
Clermont541946
Delaware521435
Licking506275
Fairfield505163
Trumbull4969144
Greene489662
Clark486664
Marion451451
Allen446384
Wood4243107
Medina413354
Miami398565
Pickaway387948
Columbiana328496
Portage323171
Wayne303593
Tuscarawas299557
Richland293929
Mercer281237
Ross234559
Hancock225336
Muskingum223610
Auglaize218925
Putnam218649
Darke208058
Erie205565
Ashtabula204753
Geauga189451
Scioto186713
Lawrence181336
Athens17954
Union17928
Shelby176715
Seneca165018
Belmont151529
Madison151018
Sandusky144427
Preble143821
Huron139218
Holmes137039
Defiance131121
Knox118818
Logan118313
Fulton117225
Ottawa114730
Crawford114216
Washington112427
Clinton100314
Williams9938
Jefferson9894
Ashland98322
Highland96317
Henry94422
Brown9324
Champaign8935
Jackson87312
Fayette86617
Van Wert8596
Morrow8312
Hardin82518
Guernsey79213
Coshocton78813
Perry73312
Pike7081
Adams70611
Wyandot68916
Gallia68113
Paulding61710
Hocking58511
Noble56121
Carroll41610
Meigs36312
Monroe29921
Morgan2342
Vinton2075
Harrison1823
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