(KSAN) – The Texas Legislature has officially passed the halfway point of the session. House Bill 749 and Senate Bill 21 are two bills highly talked about. They propose increasing the legal age to purchase and use cigarettes, e-cigarettes and tobacco products from 18 to 21.
Those in support of the change in the law believe it can save many lives… and dollars. However, many are against the potential change in regulation.
“I just feel like if you can be 18 years old and you can sign up for the military and fight for our freedom and lay your life on the line you should be able to smoke a cigarette or smoke a vape,“ said Shaylen Ascol, co-owner of Lifted Smoke and Vape.
According to national data, 95% of adult smokers began smoking before they turned 21. About 10 of every 100 adults who smoke are between the ages of 18 and 24.
“Most of the people that come here are in college, 20s is the main people that come in here,“ said Ascol.
While the change in the law could save the state billions of dollars a year in health care costs related to smoking, businesses selling tobacco products would be seeing a decline in sales.
Some say that the change in the law wouldn’t do much, and those unable to buy tobacco products legally would find another way to do so.
“Obviously it’s gonna stop anybody who’s less than 21 from coming in. Other than that, I’m still gonna have customers coming in that are over 21, which is also a big part of our sales,“ explained Ascol.
Currently, San Antonio is the first and only city in Texas that has increased the smoking age from 18-21. If the bills pass, they would take effect in September.
“I mean, if they’re gonna pass it or not, you just gotta deal with it,“ Ascol said.