Texas could be next to raise smoking age; residents react

Texas could be next state to raise smoking age - KAUZ

WICHITA FALLS, TX (TNN) - From college students to vape shop owners, a Texas bill is making progress inside the capital in Austin and it has people talking.

SB21 would raise the smoking age from 18 to 21. The Senate passed the bill Tuesday and a similar bill will be voted on in a house committee. It would stop those under 21 from buying cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and tobacco products.

Those in Wichita Falls have different opinions about the possible change.

19-year-old MSU student Amalya Rushasi said, “That bill is ridiculous. I wouldn't want to wait till I'm 21 if I personally did smoke or not.”

19-year-old MSU student Henry Martinez said, “A lot of the reasons why people do stuff is cause it's cool, I think a lot of younger people would be like 'Oh you can't do this until you're 21’, and it gives them that urge.”

Owner of vape shop Foggy Memories, Chris Lunsford, had the same thought about raising the age. “The people that are under 21 are just going to get more creative on ways to buy it,” he said.

He thinks one reason lawmakers want to raise the age is to curb young teens from vaping, which he supports. However, he does not think changing the law will effectively stop them.

“When I started smoking is when I was in high school. I wasn’t old enough to smoke but we found cigarettes,” Lansford said.

The bill in the senate was recently amended to exclude active military members; meaning the law will not apply to those under 21 serving in the armed forces.

Lansford said he’s glad to hear about the amendment,” In our town we’re obviously a huge military installation. That’s the 80% of the business that I’m worried about you know. It you’re old enough to serve your country, you should be able to buy vape equipment if you want to.”

Ultimately, he says he will learn to adapt to whatever changes happen. Right now, he is optimistic it won't hurt business.

If passed the SB21 would take effect September 1.

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