State law raises smoking age starting in Sept.

Smoking age bill

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Research shows in 2017, 10.3 percent of high school students in Texas used electronic vapor products. About 5.4 percent used smokeless tobacco and 7 percent of high schoolers smoked cigars.

“Nicotine is an addictive drug,” said William Morris, a Wichita Falls visitor. “I don’t care how we call it, it’s an addictive drug and when your kid gets in an addictive drug, once he crosses the tracks that’s it, he is never making it back."

Starting September 1st it will be against the law to sell traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and other tobacco products to Texans younger than 21.

Morris tells us the new law is okay but he believes prevention starts at home.

"These kids should learn this at home and they're not," said Morris. "That's the problem, we should start at home."

According to the Texas Tribune, a Republican from Houston said she crafted the bill in hopes to keep these products out of public schools by creating more “social distance” between younger students and those who can purchase them.

"When we found out that there was that increase from 2016 to 2017, a 4.9 percent {increase}, we were concerned for the youth here in Wichita County," said Amanda Kennedy, the Health Educator for the Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District. "It prompted us to work harder with the schools. We now work with WFISD and with the communities in schools."

The survey was about the use of e-cigarettes. Kennedy, tells us that will lead to traditional cigarettes.

"I hope that raising the age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21 will help prevent a lot of chronic illnesses that come from tobacco use as a whole," said Kennedy.

Eighteen states, not including Oklahoma, have raised the tobacco age to 21.

This law will allow an exception for those in the military.

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