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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.

Cases: 1560117

Reported Deaths: 20796
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion2118112563
Lake1021301523
Allen964791027
Hamilton75541551
St. Joseph66476761
Elkhart51045634
Vanderburgh50511531
Tippecanoe45721338
Johnson39600527
Hendricks37933463
Porter35132476
Madison30330547
Clark27296331
Vigo26401347
Monroe24100249
LaPorte23921313
Howard23237381
Delaware22453370
Hancock19314220
Bartholomew18980216
Kosciusko18400204
Warrick17733216
Wayne16982303
Floyd16686257
Grant15966300
Morgan15091232
Boone13924138
Dearborn12235113
Shelby12225152
Noble12170142
Henry12027202
Dubois11696152
Marshall11625171
Jackson11111104
Cass10578143
Lawrence10529221
Huntington10523140
DeKalb10482132
Gibson10114127
Montgomery9671144
Harrison9471117
Knox9415125
Whitley902571
Steuben8934105
Putnam8542100
Miami8533135
Clinton849397
Jasper8462116
Jefferson8319127
Wabash8027140
Ripley7504117
Scott685787
Adams6829103
Daviess6825130
White638184
Greene6317112
Clay628975
Decatur6261121
Jennings619781
Wells6090121
Fayette6054122
Posey580148
LaGrange549097
Randolph5364129
Washington528071
Owen5211100
Fountain493681
Spencer467456
Sullivan462066
Fulton450993
Orange449784
Starke448887
Rush433941
Jay432564
Perry409155
Carroll394749
Franklin394650
Vermillion370762
Pike334246
Parke331239
Tipton330475
Blackford282255
Pulaski281775
Brown239856
Newton239761
Benton228921
Crawford224932
Switzerland207914
Martin196722
Warren183922
Union178119
Ohio129216
Unassigned0763

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2515949

Reported Deaths: 31987
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin2719422100
Cuyahoga2606673087
Hamilton1758091756
Montgomery1177451651
Summit1089011418
Lucas935321193
Butler83907963
Stark771001431
Lorain64214809
Warren53428489
Mahoning51224930
Lake47591611
Clermont46928452
Delaware41107220
Trumbull39746790
Licking38790416
Medina38646427
Fairfield35828349
Greene34313435
Portage32429366
Clark32361453
Richland29653444
Wood29379301
Allen25875403
Miami24243408
Muskingum23564255
Columbiana23046409
Wayne22093365
Tuscarawas19637428
Marion18616235
Erie18608224
Ashtabula18569362
Scioto18159214
Ross17594260
Pickaway16419181
Hancock16115232
Geauga15511229
Lawrence15094186
Belmont14236248
Union1419584
Huron13908184
Jefferson13656261
Sandusky13268200
Athens12877107
Knox12160201
Seneca12055204
Darke11440202
Ashland11248184
Washington11152172
Auglaize10873147
Crawford10432178
Shelby10402160
Brown10094145
Highland9746151
Fulton9726154
Guernsey9683122
Defiance9567137
Logan9470147
Clinton9428132
Mercer9099112
Madison9032111
Preble8524170
Williams8305138
Putnam8069136
Champaign8040113
Ottawa7971123
Jackson7848121
Perry7514102
Coshocton7411136
Morrow729184
Fayette715992
Pike666689
Hardin6564133
Gallia638891
Adams6227127
Van Wert6065121
Henry602596
Hocking5918105
Wyandot503594
Carroll5009101
Holmes4880167
Paulding426465
Meigs400974
Monroe316468
Harrison299162
Noble296952
Morgan292748
Vinton258646
Unassigned08
Fort Wayne
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Angola
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Huntington
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Decatur
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Van Wert
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