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: 750432

Reported Deaths: 13764
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1031991782
Lake556411007
Allen41662691
St. Joseph36974564
Hamilton36561417
Elkhart29390459
Tippecanoe22886225
Vanderburgh22549400
Porter19348325
Johnson18432388
Hendricks17608317
Clark13206193
Madison13139344
Vigo12608253
LaPorte12415221
Monroe12188175
Delaware10954198
Howard10285225
Kosciusko9619119
Hancock8562145
Bartholomew8164157
Warrick7856156
Floyd7781180
Grant7232179
Wayne7160201
Boone6939103
Morgan6746141
Dubois6214118
Marshall6208116
Cass6000109
Dearborn589578
Henry5895109
Noble580787
Jackson508975
Shelby500896
Lawrence4738122
Gibson444593
Clinton441455
Harrison441073
DeKalb439485
Montgomery436390
Whitley406343
Huntington402481
Steuben399759
Miami393169
Jasper387454
Knox375890
Putnam372160
Wabash360683
Ripley346970
Adams345355
Jefferson335785
White331553
Daviess3033100
Wells295181
Decatur289992
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey273835
LaGrange273072
Scott270156
Clay266448
Washington245234
Randolph244783
Jennings235349
Spencer234431
Starke227958
Fountain220348
Sullivan214343
Owen211658
Fulton202142
Jay200932
Carroll193420
Orange188155
Perry187137
Rush175826
Vermillion174644
Franklin170335
Tipton166146
Parke149316
Pike138234
Blackford136232
Pulaski120547
Newton113736
Brown104043
Crawford102316
Benton101414
Martin91615
Warren83815
Switzerland8118
Union72810
Ohio57811
Unassigned0420

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1108146

Reported Deaths: 20122
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1286421460
Cuyahoga1157382208
Hamilton813551248
Montgomery525311041
Summit48395999
Lucas43343818
Butler38951604
Stark33318929
Lorain25658504
Warren24580303
Mahoning22355603
Lake21166387
Clermont20111253
Delaware18841135
Licking16660222
Fairfield16570204
Trumbull16537482
Medina15603271
Greene15272247
Clark14233306
Wood13287198
Portage13242214
Allen11910239
Richland11601211
Miami10843224
Wayne9130222
Columbiana9029230
Muskingum8906135
Pickaway8658122
Tuscarawas8643248
Marion8641138
Erie8056164
Ashtabula7147179
Hancock6996132
Ross6943161
Geauga6834150
Scioto6534105
Belmont6155174
Union584549
Lawrence5726102
Jefferson5675158
Huron5544122
Sandusky5439125
Darke5415129
Seneca5347126
Washington5318109
Athens523660
Auglaize501887
Mercer487385
Shelby476595
Knox4570112
Madison444065
Ashland435597
Putnam4336103
Defiance432298
Fulton432072
Crawford4036110
Brown402461
Logan387577
Preble3848104
Clinton379166
Ottawa373581
Highland359665
Williams348078
Champaign344258
Guernsey324853
Jackson318154
Perry297350
Morrow291840
Fayette285450
Hardin274965
Henry273367
Holmes2699101
Coshocton268960
Van Wert247264
Adams243156
Pike242835
Gallia240750
Wyandot234556
Hocking220162
Carroll197148
Paulding176542
Meigs148240
Monroe136344
Noble136039
Harrison114138
Morgan109624
Vinton85517
Unassigned03
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